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Tetracycline compared with mechlorethamine in the treatment of malignant pleural effusions. A randomized trial.

Author(s): Loutsidis A, Bellenis I, Argiriou M, Exarchos N

Affiliation(s): Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, Evangelismos Medical Centre, Athens, Greece.

Publication date & source: 1994-08, Respir Med., 88(7):523-6.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

Pleural sclerosis after tube thoracostomy was performed in 40 patients with malignant pleural effusions. The patients were randomly allocated to intrapleural therapy with tetracycline or mechlorethamine. Follow up was obtained on each patient to determine if a symptomatic effusion recurred. The response was classified as a complete or partial response and failure. (Complete response: complete lack of reaccumulation of pleural fluid for at least 60 days. Partial response: small pleural effusion asymptomatic not requiring further treatment for at least 60 days. Failure: all other cases). Tetracycline produced complete or partial control of the effusion in 16 of 20 trials for a duration of 6.1 +/- 4.1 months (range 2-14 months). Mechlorethamine produced control of the effusion in 12 of 20 trials for a duration of 4.4 +/- 1 months (range 2-8 months). These findings indicate that intracavitary tetracycline is a more effective treatment than intracavitary mechlorethamine for the control of neoplastic pleural effusion.

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