Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 396, Issue 5, pp 625–638

Splenectomy for non-haematological metastatic malignant disease

  • Piers A. C. Gatenby
  • Satvinder S. Mudan
  • Andrew C. Wotherspoon
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00423-011-0746-2

Cite this article as:
Gatenby, P.A.C., Mudan, S.S. & Wotherspoon, A.C. Langenbecks Arch Surg (2011) 396: 625. doi:10.1007/s00423-011-0746-2



Multiple cases and small series of patients who have undergone splenectomy for metastatic malignant disease have been reported. This study examines the outcome of patients with metastatic malignant disease to the spleen treated by splenectomy at a tertiary oncology centre and a review of cases published in the last 10 years.


The hospital histopathology database was searched over a 25-year period up to 2004 for patients who had undergone splenectomy for non-haematological malignancy. Medical records of these patients were reviewed and clinical course was examined. The literature review was undertaken using a search of PubMed for the terms “splenectomy” and “metastasis” from 2000 to 2010.


Twenty-one cases at our institution were identified. The most common primary site of malignancy was ovary (nine cases), followed by malignant melanoma (three) and pancreas (three). There were two cases of metastatic disease from colonic primary and one each from renal, breast, nasopharyngeal and unknown primary disease. There were two cases of long-term disease-free survival (both primary ovarian tumours) and four cases of patients who survived more than 4 years but had disease recurrence (ovarian and colonic primaries). The literature review provided a further 115 cases.


More favorable outcomes were seen in patients with metachronous disease. There was a trend to improved outcome in ovarian and colorectal primaries over malignant melanoma. It is postulated that improved outcome may be seen in patients for whom there were effective adjuvant chemotherapeutic options, low probability of other metastatic disease and less aggressive tumour biology. However, frequently the presentation is indicative of aggressive widespread disease with a poor prognosis.


Neoplasm metastasisSplenic neoplasmsSplenectomySurvivalNeoplasm recurrence

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Piers A. C. Gatenby
    • 1
    • 3
  • Satvinder S. Mudan
    • 1
  • Andrew C. Wotherspoon
    • 2
  1. 1.Academic Department of SurgeryRoyal Marsden NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of HistopathologyRoyal Marsden NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK
  3. 3.Oesophagogastric and Hepatopancreaticobiliary Surgery, Academic Department of SurgeryRoyal Marsden NHS Foundation TrustLondonUK