Background: For patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a multimodality treatment concept including neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radical surgery offers improved overall survival. While the lung-sparing extended pleurectomy and decortication (EPD) has become the preferential surgical approach, the more aggressive extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) remains reserved for a selected group of patients. Based on our experience from the past two decades, we aim to discuss and assess today’s role of EPP.
Methods: Out of 523 MPM patients intended to be treated by induction chemotherapy followed by macroscopic complete resection between January 1999 and December 2019, we identified 151 consecutive patients who underwent EPP at our center. All patients were treated within a multimodality concept including neoadjuvant chemotherapy with platinum-based agents plus gemcitabine or pemetrexed. Clinical data were collected in an online database and analyzed retrospectively.
Results: Of all patients, 57.6% were of IMIG stage IA or IB (n=87), 39.0% of all patients IMIG stage IIIA or IIIB (n=59). Mean tumor volume after induction chemotherapy was 294.6±315.0 cm3. Most patients were operated in the first decade between 1999 and 2009 [112 patients (74.2%)]. The overall 30- and 90-day mortality was 4.6% and 10.6%, respectively. The median overall survival was 18.5 months. Major postoperative morbidity was assessed as a composite outcome and occurred in 38.4% of all patients.
Conclusions: Although EPD became the procedure of first choice, EPP is a reasonable approach in selected patients with high tumor burden and extensive involvement of the lung parenchyma, where parenchyma-sparing resection is technically not feasible or functionally not rational. All patients should be preoperatively assessed and informed about the eventuality of EPP, depending on intraoperative findings.
Keywords: Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP); malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM); surgical treatment; multimodality treatment; macroscopic complete resection