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pleural effusion


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I think it is fairly common. The main question you should ask the Dr is if the effusion is malignant or not.

A substance such as talcum powder, doxycycline (an antibiotic), or bleomycin (a chemotherapy agent) will often prevent recurrence of the fluid, when injected into the pleural cavity through a chest tube (pleurodesis)

There are different clinical trials that you might want to get information about.

One is below but there are many others. You can info on clinical trials at

www.clinicaltrials.gov (There are three phases) Phase III is the one that is furthest along in the process to becoming a drug.


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A pleural effusion is pretty common and many times doesn't need any special attention, unless they get too large. My husband has had a small pleural effusion lower left lung for quite some time. We don't know if it's malignant or not, and probably won't unless it starts to grow.

I think even early stage can have effusions and many times they are not malignant and don't necessarily cause any problems. Since they are all different in size and location, it will have to determined by a doctor, in each case, how to treat or not to treat.

Hope that helps to put your mind at ease.


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If she is just getting staged then I *think* the question of whether is is malignant or not - is important because it determines treatment -

i.e. whether resection is possible.

If someone is at Stage IV whether the effusion is malignant or not is not important because the treatment would be the same - chemo (in most cases)

The plural effusion does not affect the stage, when there is distant mets.

Therefore as you said, unless the effusion gets large you don't necessarily have to do anything or even test it for stage IV.

However, if there are not distant mets, then the whether the effusion is malignant or not detemines the stage. Stage IIIb for a malignant effusion versus an earlier stage for one that is not malignant.

Something to post to Ask the Experts.

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