Objectives: Chest wall cancers are a mixed group of lesions that offer an exciting diagnostic and therapeutic challenge for surgeons. The present study is an attempt to evaluate the pathology, treatment methodologies, role of surgical resection and reconstruction, and consequences of patients with these tumours.
Methods: All the patients with malignant primary chest wall cancers treated at our institution between February 2007 and July 2013, were included in this study. Fifteen cases were identified with tumours. Seven of them were malignant small round cell tumour (MSRCT), six were rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and the remaining two were other tumours. Five patients underwent initial biopsy, followed by chemotherapy (n = 4) and radiotherapy (n = 1).
Results: Three of these five survived to undertake late chest wall resections. Six of the nine resected patients required en bloc resection of neighbouring muscles or organs; three required complex chest wall reconstruction. At the end of the study, we found that eight out of 15 patients (53%) have survived (six years of follow-up), all with no evidence of disease; the other seven patients died of progressive disease. Two patients with tumour categories other than MSRCT or RMS, metastatic or not, at diagnosis, are alive with no indication of disease. There were no local recurrences.
Conclusions: Surgical resection, with en bloc removal of involved structures and chest wall reconstruction, provides outstanding survival improvement in malignant chest wall tumours.