Medline: 8955660

The abstract Journal of Clinical Oncology 14(12): 3141-3147, 1996. is available online.

The fulltext Journal of Clinical Oncology 14(12): 3141-3147, 1996. may be available online for subscribers.

Prospective comparison of the sclerosing agents doxycycline and bleomycin for the primary management of malignant pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade.

Liu G, Crump M, Goss PE, et al.


To compare the clinical efficacy and toxicity of doxycycline and bleomycin as sclerosing agents in the primary management of malignant pericardial effusion (MPE).

Twenty-seven consecutive adult patients referred to a tertiary-care institution for the management of cardiac tamponade and malignancy underwent pericardial drainage through a percutaneously placed pigtail catheter. They were then alternately assigned to undergo bleomycin or doxycycline pericardial sclerosis.

There were 13 men and 14 women, with a median age of 59 years. They mainly had lung (70%) and breast cancers (11%), and all had clinical and echocardiographic evidence of cardiac tamponade. Although all patients had successfully placed catheters, six were inadvertently dislodged before sclerosis; 11 underwent bleomycin sclerosis and 10 doxycycline sclerosis. Twenty patients (one early death) were assessable. One patient in each group failed to respond to sclerosis with the initial agent, but both were sclerosed successfully with the other agent. Sclerosis was achieved with a median of two instillations for each agent and total median doses of bleomycin 20 mg and doxycycline 1,250 mg. Seventy percent of doxycycline patients developed significant retrosternal pain, compared with no bleomycin patients (P = .04). Doxycycline patients required a median of 3.5 more days of hospitalization (8.5 v 5) and 2 more days of pericardial catheterization (7 v 5) compared with bleomycin patients. Tamponade recurred in one bleomycin patient at 253 days, and in no doxycycline patient.

Although bleomycin and doxycycline are equally effective sclerosing agents, bleomycin is associated with significantly less morbidity and should be the first-line chemical sclerosing agent for malignant pericardial effusions.

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