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How Uncommon are Isolated Lung Metastases in Colorectal Cancer? A Review from Database of 754 Patients Over 4 Years

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Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

Abstract

Background

It is commonly thought that colon cancer metastases to the lungs without involvement of the liver are rare.

Methods

We performed a retrospective review of all patients with colorectal cancer diagnosed between December 2003 and August 2007 in Singapore. Isolated lung metastases were determined as (1) Definite if there was confirmed histology or cytology of the lung lesion(s) in the absence of liver lesions on CT scan, and (2) Probable if there were only radiological evidence suggestive of lung metastases rather than lung primary also in the absence of liver lesions on CT scan.

Results

There were 196 patients with rectal and 558 patients with colon cancer (369 left-sided and 189 right-sided). There were 13 definite isolated lung metastases, and the remaining 43 were probable. Twenty-three (12%) patients with rectal cancer and 33 (6%) patients with colon cancer had isolated lung metastases (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.21–3.70). Patients with ≥pT3 lesions (OR 1.92, 95% CI 0.75–4.93) and ≥pN1 (OR 1.56, 95% CI 0.86– 2.83) were more likely to have isolated lung metastases.

Conclusion

The true incidence of isolated lung without liver metastases in colorectal cancer is likely to lie between 1.7% and 7.2%. While the incidence of isolated lung metastases is twice as common in patients with rectal cancer, it is still significant in patients with colon cancer. The absence of liver involvement should not preclude a search for lung metastases.

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Correspondence to Ker Kan Tan.

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Tan, K.K., Lopes Jr., G.d.L. & Sim, R. How Uncommon are Isolated Lung Metastases in Colorectal Cancer? A Review from Database of 754 Patients Over 4 Years. J Gastrointest Surg 13, 642–648 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11605-008-0757-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11605-008-0757-7

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