Objective: The combination of surgery and chemotherapy improves the prognosis of patients with osteogenic sarcoma of the limbs without detectable metastases at presentation. However, lung metastases are a frequent complication. To evaluate the role of the resection of pulmonary metastases of osteogenic sarcoma of the limbs, we have reviewed our experience with this type of surgery, combined with a multidrug chemotherapy protocol. Patients and methods: From January 89 to December 97, 198 patients operated on for osteogenic sarcomas of the limbs were followed in our centre. Of these, 31 patients (15.7%), with a mean age of 25 years (range 10-54 years), developed lung metastases and had undergone 45 thoracotomies. All patients received chemotherapy, followed by resection of metastatic lesions and additional chemotherapy. The mean time interval between resection of the primary tumour and the diagnosis of lung metastases was 22 months (4-122 months). Eight patients (25.8%) needed more than one (2-4) thoracotomy. The mean time interval between the first and second thoracic surgeries was 9.2 months (2-14 months). Results: There was no operative mortality or major morbidity. During the 45 thoracotomies, five lobectomies and 40 wedge resections were necessary. The mean number of metastases resected per thoracotomy was 3.4 (range 1-10). The degree of necrosis was evaluated by seriated sections for a histologic study. In the end the mean necrotic volume was calculated. A strong correlation was found between the degree of necrosis of the metastases and the need for reoperation for new metastatic lesions, because all the patients who needed more than one operation had less than 80% of necrosis of metastases. The patients were followed for a mean period of 28 months (6-72 months). Ten patients (32.2%) died of related causes at a mean of 19.4 months after thoracic surgery, three of whom had more than one operation. The 3-year survival after metastasectomy was 61%. Patients without pulmonary metastases had a 3-year survival of 79%. Conclusions: In patients with lung metastases of an osteogenic sarcoma, the combination of chemotherapy and surgery improves the outcome. In our series the mortality was not influenced by the number or thoracotomies required.