PMID: 3180851Nov 1, 1988

Factors associated with fatal hemoptysis in cancer patients

R J PanosH J Silverman


We reviewed the clinical outcome of 58 patients with hemoptysis associated with either a hematologic or solid malignancy. Pulmonary hemorrhage causing death (fatal hemoptysis) occurred in 36 percent of these patients. Fatal hemoptysis occurred in six of eight patients with a hematologic malignancy and a fungal pneumonia. Examination of pathologic specimens from five of these patients revealed fungal invasion of blood vessels. An inflammatory response was absent in three, suggesting that granulocytes are not required for fungal-induced tissue destruction. In patients with a bronchogenic tumor, fatal hemoptysis occurred in six of seven patients with a necrotic squamous cell carcinoma. In contrast, hemoptysis was fatal in only two of ten patients with metastatic lung disease. We conclude that hemoptysis in cancer patients with a fungal pneumonia is an ominous sign that may warrant aggressive interventions to prevent a fatal complication.


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