Malignant pleural effusions are a common and significant problem in patients with advanced malignancies. In contrast to traditional sclerosing agents, intrapleural chemotherapy has the potential advantage of treating the underlying malignancy, in addition to treating the effusion. The Lung Cancer Study Group evaluated intrapleural cisplatin and cytarabine in patients with malignant pleural effusions from a variety of solid tumors. Forty-six patients with cytologically proven symptomatic and previously untreated malignant pleural effusions were entered. Cisplatin, as a single dose of 100 mg/m2, plus cytarabine 1,200 mg, were instilled into the pleural space via a chest tube that was then immediately removed. The overall response rate, complete plus partial at 3 weeks, was 49% (18/37 patients). One patient experienced reversible grade 3 renal toxic reactions, four patients had grade 3 hematologic toxic reactions, and five patients had grade 3 cardiopulmonary toxic reactions. Median length of response was 9 months for a complete remission and 5.1 months for a partial remission. Although chemotherapy has the potential advantage of treating the underlying malignancy in addition to controlling the malignant effusion, intracavitary cisplatin and cytarabine therapy as administered in this trial appears inferior to existing sclerosing agents for the control of malignant pleural effusions. Although administration is safe, it cannot be recommended for the standard control of malignant pleural effusions, but it may have a role incorporated into combination modality therapies for diseases such as malignant pleural mesothelioma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine