Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology

, Volume 140, Issue 12, pp 2129–2134 | Cite as

Superior vena cava syndrome caused by a malignant tumor: a retrospective single-center analysis of 124 cases

  • Karin HohlochEmail author
  • Nick Bertram
  • Lorenz Trümper
  • Tim Beissbarth
  • Frank Griesinger
Original Article – Clinical Oncology



Superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS) results from compression of the superior vena cava. SVCS is an emergency requiring immediate diagnosis and treatment. We hypothesized that the outcome of patients (pts.) admitted during regular work hours may differ from that of pts. admitted on weekends.


From 1992 to 2011, we analyzed all pts. admitted with SVCS due to a malignancy. Clinical outcome was analyzed, focusing on the work-up of pts. hospitalized on a weekend compared with those hospitalized during the week.


One hundred and twenty-four pts. with malignant causes of SVCS were analyzed. Causes were as follows: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) 28.2 %, non-small cell lung cancer 25 %, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 25 %, metastasis of other malignant tumors 19.4 % and Hodgkin’s disease 2.4 %. Sixty-five percent of pts. were admitted during the week and 35 % on a weekend. Sixty-one percent received chemotherapy, 24 % radiation, 4 % radiochemotherapy, 9 % palliative treatment and 2 % no treatment at all. No difference in choice of treatment between pts. admitted on a weekday versus weekend was seen. Response was as follows: 7 pts. complete remission, 20 pts. partial response, 38 pts. progressive disease, 3 pts. NC and 15 pts. died. Overall response rate was as follows: Hodgkin’s disease 100 %, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 29 %, SCLC 22.8 %, non-small cell lung cancer 9.6 % and metastatic cancer 16.6 %. Only 2 of the 34 pts. with relapsing carcinoma responded. None of the pts. died due to SVCS.


The outcome of pts. with SVCS is not dependent on the day of admission (weekend or weekday) but is related to underlying disease in the setting of a tertiary care center.


Vena cava superior syndrome Malignancy Therapy and response 


Conflict of interest

The authors declared no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Hohloch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nick Bertram
    • 1
  • Lorenz Trümper
    • 1
  • Tim Beissbarth
    • 3
  • Frank Griesinger
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Hematology and Oncology, Göttingen Comprehensive Cancer CenterGeorg August UniversityGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Hematology and Medical OncologyPius HospitalOldenburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Statistic and BioinformaticGeorg August UniversityGöttingenGermany

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