• Thirty-three patients treated primarily with surgical excision of pulmonary metastases from breast cancer were compared with 30 patients treated primarily with systemic chemohormonal therapy. Treatment for patients in the surgical group included pulmonary resection alone in 20, resection plus adjuvant systemic therapy in nine, and resection plus adjuvant radiation therapy in four. Treatment for patients in the medical group included systemic therapy alone in 22 and systemic therapy plus local radiation therapy in eight. Mean survival in the surgical group was significantly longer than that in the medical group, even when only those patients who manifested single pulmonary nodules were compared (58 months vs 34 months). The overall 5-year survival rate after treatment of lung metastasis was significantly greater for the surgical group than for the medical group (36% vs 11 %). The results of this study indicate that surgical resection should be considered in patients with breast cancer who develop operable pulmonary metastases without evidence for concomitant extrapulmonary disease. In selected patients, such therapy may result in a survival benefit.
(Arch Surg. 1992;127:1282-1284)