Diagnosis and management of malignant pleural effusions.

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Diagnosis and management of malignant pleural effusions.

Respirology. 2008 Jan;13(1):5-20

Authors: Heffner JE

Malignant pleural effusions (MPEs) complicate the clinical course of patients with a broad array of malignancies, which are most often due to lymphomas or carcinomas of the breast, lung, gastrointestinal tract or ovaries. Patients may present with a MPE as the initial manifestation of a cancer or develop an effusion during the advanced phases of a known malignancy. In either circumstance, the median survival after presentation with a MPE is 4 months. Effusions may result from direct pleural invasion (MPE) or indirect effects (paraneoplastic effusions), such as impairment of fluid efflux from the pleural space by lymphatic obstruction or pleural effects of cancer radiation or drug therapy. Because only 50% of patients with cancer who develop a pleural effusion during their clinical course have a MPE, careful evaluation of the effusion to establish its aetiology is required to direct therapy. Management is palliative with interventions directed towards decreasing the volume of intrapleural fluid and the severity of associated symptoms.

PMID: 18197908 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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