• From 1971 through December 1986, the courses of 47 patients who underwent thoracotomy for pulmonary metastases from melanoma were retrospectively reviewed to determine the efficacy of this approach in the management of selected patients with melanoma. The overall five-year survival rate was 25% (median survival, 19 months). Thirty-eight patients were free of disease following thoracotomy. These patients fared significantly better than those who had residual disease following thoracotomy, with a five-year survival rate of 31% (median survival, 24 months) compared with 0% (median survival, six months). Survival was not influenced by the addition of adjuvant therapy or duration of time before the development of metastases (<12 months vs ≥12 months). In selected patients with melanoma metastatic to the lung, thoracotomy with complete excision of the metastatic deposits results in improved survival and should be considered the treatment of choice.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:1091-1095)