OBJECTIVES: To determine the diagnosis, treatment and follow-up in patients with a solitary lung nodule and a previous primary extrapulmonary neoplasm. METHODS: The authors evaluated the charts of 45 patients with an extrapulmonary malignant neoplasm and a solitary pulmonary nodule. The histologic characteristics of the nodule were correlated with those of the extrapulmonary neoplasm. RESULTS: The histology of the nodule was not known preoperatively in 43 cases (93.5%); in the remaining three cases cytologic examination had shown the presence of atypical cells. The majority of pulmonary lesions (73.9%) were found during the follow-up of the previous tumour, but a significant percentage of nodules (17.4%) were found incidentally. Pre- or intraoperative localisation of the nodule was done in 19 cases (41.3%), and was successful in nine cases (47.4%). Thoracoscopy was performed in 44 patients (95.6%). The coincidence between the pathology of the previous tumour and that of the nodule was 41.3% (19/46). The coincidence rate was 100% for the tumours of ovary, prostate, and sarcomas. CONCLUSIONS: The advent of minimally invasive surgical techniques has made a definitive diagnosis likely, providing also therapy with a less painful engagement for the patient and a less cost for the community.
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