Superior sulcus tumors (Pancoast tumors).


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Abstract

Superior Sulcus Tumors, frequently termed as Pancoast tumors, are a wide range of tumors invading the apical chest wall. Due to its localization in the apex of the lung, with the potential invasion of the lower part of the brachial plexus, first ribs, vertebrae, subclavian vessels or stellate ganglion, the superior sulcus tumors cause characteristic symptoms, like arm or shoulder pain or Horner's syndrome. The management of superior sulcus tumors has dramatically evolved over the past 50 years. Originally deemed universally fatal, in 1956, Shaw and Paulson introduced a new treatment paradigm with combined radiotherapy and surgery ensuring 5-year survival of approximately 30%. During the 1990s, following the need to improve systemic as well as local control, a trimodality approach including induction concurrent chemoradiotherapy followed by surgical resection was introduced, reaching 5-year survival rates up to 44% and becoming the standard of care. Many efforts have been persecuted, also, to obtain higher complete resection rates using appropriate surgical approaches and involving multidisciplinary team including spine surgeon or vascular surgeon. Other potential treatment options are under consideration like prophylactic cranial irradiation or the addition of other chemotherapy agents or biologic agents to the trimodality approach.

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