W. Den Hengst MD, J. Hendriks MD, PhD, F. Lardon PhD, P. Van Schil MD, PhD
The golden standard for the treatment of lung metastases remains complete surgical resection. Prognostic factors for patients with lung metastases are histology, number of metastases and disease-free interval. However, the chance of recurrent disease in the treated lung remains high after complete resection, even in combination with systemic chemotherapy. Systemic toxicity limits the dose of the latter, resulting in only limited local pulmonary control. Therefore, new techniques are developed to deliver a high-dose of chemotherapy selectively into the lung, reducing the risk of systemic toxicity. One of these techniques is isolated lung perfusion, which is comparable with isolated limb perfusion. This experimental surgical technique allows delivery of a very high-dose of chemotherapy with or without biological response modifiers to the lung, without the risk of systemic exposure. Experimental studies with this technique have shown its superiority in achieving higher tissue concentrations of chemotherapy in the target organ as well as improved survival in comparison with systemic chemotherapy. As shown in several phase I studies, this technique is technically feasible with minimal morbidity and minimal impact on pulmonary function. In a recent phase II study, an improved local pulmonary control was found in comparison with the literature. This review discusses the current status of isolated lung perfusion as well as newer, less invasive techniques to deliver high-dose chemotherapy selectively to the lung.