Study objective: To examine the effectiveness of repeated intrapleural chemotherapy using an implantable access system (INFUSE-A-PORT; Horizon Medical Products; Manchester, GA) for the management of a malignant pleural effusion (MPE).
Methods: Twenty-two patients with histologically proven MPEs (11 men and 11 women; mean age, 63.8 years; age range, 51 to 81 years; performance status, ≤ 3) were enrolled in this study. There were 17 patients with MPEs resulting from primary lung cancer; of whom 7 had metastatic disease (stage IV), 3 had stage IIIB disease, and 7 had postoperative recurrences. Three patients had MPEs that were caused by mesothelioma, and two had MPEs caused by breast cancer. Intrapleural catheters were placed by a video-assisted thoracoscopic procedure. The intrapleural administration of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU; 250 mg per body) and cisplatin (10 mg per body) using the implantable access system was performed biweekly at the outpatient clinic. Drainage of the MPEs through the port was performed only when the patients had some manifestations that occurred due to increasing effusion.
Results: The mean total administered doses of 5-FU and cisplatin were 3,290 and 124 mg, respectively. The mean follow-up period was 431 days (range, 209 to 792 days). The median survival period was 403 days, and the longest survival period was 792 days. No treatment-related mortality, renal dysfunction, bone marrow suppression, or infection occurred. One patient experienced a hemothorax after eight instances of intrapleural administration. The port and the catheter were involved with the tumor in one patient.
Conclusions: Repeated intrapleural chemotherapy using the implantable access system is useful and safe for patients with MPEs. In the future, prospective randomized studies will be necessary to compare the efficacy of therapy for MPE using the implantable access system with that of pleurodesis.