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Pyng Lee, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Correspondence to: Pyng Lee, MD, FCCP, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, NUHS Tower Block, Level 10, 1E Kent Ridge Rd, Singapore 119228; e-mail: pyng_lee@nuhs.edu.sg


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2012;142(6):1696-1697. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2252
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To the Editor:

I commend Drs Maldonado and Astoul for their points in support of thoracoscopic talc poudrage (TTP) as the first choice for malignant pleural effusion.1 Light2 based his rebuttal on the study by Dresler et al,3 where patients with malignant pleural effusions had to demonstrate > 90% lung expansion before they received talc slurry via chest tube or TTP. Thirty-two percent and 27% of patients randomized to talc slurry and TTP groups, respectively, were excluded, and they could have trapped lungs from pleural loculations and extensive tumor load for which thoracoscopic adhesiolysis would be beneficial by promoting fluid drainage and lung expansion. Complications associated with TTP performed by surgeons in these patients with good Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group status (0-2) were higher than those in the published literature,4 particularly blood transfusion (4.5%), respiratory failure (8.1%), and postoperative death (8.4%). The type of talc used was also unclear, because small-particle talc (< 15 μm) could have caused respiratory failure.5 A trial involving 13 centers in Europe and one center in South Africa demonstrated the safety of TTP with large-particle talc (mean size, 24.5 μm). TTP was performed by pulmonologists in 558 patients with Karnofsky scores > 30 or Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group < 4. Thirty-day mortality was markedly lower, at 1.97%. Only one patient (0.17%) developed respiratory failure from contralateral pneumothorax, and no patient required surgical bailout or blood transfusion.6 In his letter to the editor, Medford7 estimated the cost benefits of medical thoracoscopy. Although he referred to patients with unexplained pleural effusions, the arguments of a shorter wait period to perform pleurodesis and a shorter hospital stay with TTP compared with talc slurry would favor TTP as the more cost-effective treatment of malignant pleural effusion against indwelling pleural catheter if patient survival exceeds 6 weeks.

References

Lee P. Point: should thoracoscopic talc pleurodesis be the first choice management for malignant effusion? Yes. Chest.142(1):15-17. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Light RW. Rebuttal from Dr Light. Chest. 2012;142(1):20-21. [CrossRef]
 
Dresler CM, Olak J, Herndon JE II, et al; Cooperative Groups Cancer and Leukemia Group B; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group; North Central Cooperative Oncology Group; Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Phase III intergroup study of talc poudrage vs talc slurry sclerosis for malignant pleural effusion. Chest. 2005;127(3):909-915. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Roberts ME, Neville E, Berrisford RG, et al. Management of a malignant pleural effusion: British Society pleural disease guideline 2010. Thorax. 2010;65(suppl 2):ii32-ii40. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Maskell NA, Lee YC, Gleeson FV, Hedley EL, Pengelly G, Davies RJ. Randomized trials describing lung inflammation after pleurodesis with talc of varying particle size. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004;170(4):377-382. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Janssen JP, Collier G, Astoul P, et al. Safety of pleurodesis with talc poudrage in malignant pleural effusion: a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2007;369(9572):1535-1539. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Medford AR. Theoretical cost benefits of medical thoracoscopy (MT). Respir Med. 2010;104(7):1075-1076. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 

Figures

Tables

References

Lee P. Point: should thoracoscopic talc pleurodesis be the first choice management for malignant effusion? Yes. Chest.142(1):15-17. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Light RW. Rebuttal from Dr Light. Chest. 2012;142(1):20-21. [CrossRef]
 
Dresler CM, Olak J, Herndon JE II, et al; Cooperative Groups Cancer and Leukemia Group B; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group; North Central Cooperative Oncology Group; Radiation Therapy Oncology Group. Phase III intergroup study of talc poudrage vs talc slurry sclerosis for malignant pleural effusion. Chest. 2005;127(3):909-915. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Roberts ME, Neville E, Berrisford RG, et al. Management of a malignant pleural effusion: British Society pleural disease guideline 2010. Thorax. 2010;65(suppl 2):ii32-ii40. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Maskell NA, Lee YC, Gleeson FV, Hedley EL, Pengelly G, Davies RJ. Randomized trials describing lung inflammation after pleurodesis with talc of varying particle size. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004;170(4):377-382. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Janssen JP, Collier G, Astoul P, et al. Safety of pleurodesis with talc poudrage in malignant pleural effusion: a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2007;369(9572):1535-1539. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Medford AR. Theoretical cost benefits of medical thoracoscopy (MT). Respir Med. 2010;104(7):1075-1076. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
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