Metastases are secondary appearances of a malignant tumor in another localization. They often derive from the mammary gland, intestine, kidney, bladder, skin, testicles, bones/soft tissue or the lung itself. The exact mechanism, how tumor cells deposit in the lung is still unclear.
Symptoms of lung metastases often only appear in late stages. Depending on the localization the lung metastases can sometimes cause pain (in the chest), respiratory distress or cough.
Imaging (X-ray, computer tomography) plays the main role in the depiction and diagnosis of lung metastases. As lung metastases often cause no symptoms they are only discovered incidentally, for example at a check-up or during follow-up examinations concerning a known malignant tumor.
The ideal therapy option is decided within the scope of a discussion with various specialists such as thoracic surgeons, oncologists, radiation therapists and radiologists (multidisciplinary tumor board conference). The options are chemotherapy, radiation, surgery; as individual therapy or in combination.
At the surgical therapy option the complete extraction of the lung metastases is pursued. The intervention is performed in general anesthetic by means of a minimally invasive surgery (keyhole technique) or an open access (thoracotomy). Thereby as little healthy lung tissue as possible should be extracted (parenchyma-saving resection). One of many technical options is the use of a laser for deep lung metastases.