Condition 101 About Lung Metastases

What is the definition of Lung Metastases?

Lung metastases are cancerous tumors that start somewhere else in the body and spread to the lungs.

What are the alternative names for Lung Metastases?

Metastases to the lung; Metastatic cancer to the lung; Lung cancer - metastases; Lung mets

What are the causes for Lung Metastases?

Metastatic tumors in the lungs are cancers that developed at other places in the body (or other parts of the lungs). They then spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to the lungs. It is different than lung cancer that starts in the lungs.

Nearly any cancer can spread to the lungs. Common cancers include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Sarcoma
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Testicular cancer

What are the symptoms for Lung Metastases?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Bloody sputum
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

What are the current treatments for Lung Metastases?

Chemotherapy is used to treat metastatic cancer to the lung. Surgery to remove the tumors may be done when any of the following occurs:

  • The cancer has spread to only limited areas of the lung
  • The lung tumors can be completely removed with surgery

However, the main tumor must be curable, and the person must be strong enough to go through the surgery and recovery.

Other treatments include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • The placement of stents inside the airways
  • Laser therapy
  • Using local heat probes to destroy the area
  • Using very cold temperature to destroy the area

What are the support groups for Lung Metastases?

You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Lung Metastases?

A cure is unlikely in most cases of cancers that have spread to the lungs. But the outlook depends on the main cancer. In rare cases, a person can live more than 5 years with metastatic cancer to the lungs.

You and your family may want to start thinking about end-of-life planning, such as:

  • Palliative care
  • Hospice care
  • Advance care directives
  • Health care agents

What are the possible complications for Lung Metastases?

Complications of metastatic tumors in the lungs may include:

  • Fluid between the lung and chest wall (pleural effusion), which can cause shortness of breath or pain when taking a deep breath
  • Further spread of the cancer
  • Side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy

When should I contact a medical professional for Lung Metastases?

Call your provider if you have a history of cancer and you develop:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss

How do I prevent Lung Metastases?

Not all cancers can be prevented. However, many can be prevented by:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Not smoking


Arenberg DA, Pickens A. Metastatic malignant tumors. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 55.

Hayman J, Naidoo J, Ettinger DS. Lung Metastases. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 57.

Putnam JB. Lung, chest wall, pleura, and mediastinum. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 57.

Top Global Doctors For Lung Metastases

Latest Advances On Lung Metastases

  • Condition: Early Stage Lung Cancer and Lung Metastases
  • Journal: The New Zealand medical journal
  • Treatment Used: Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy
  • Number of Patients: 102
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using stereotactic ablative radiotherapy to treat patients with early stage lung cancer and lung metastases.
  • Condition: Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Journal: Internal medicine (Tokyo, Japan)
  • Treatment Used: Sorafenib after Lenvatinib
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
The study researched using sorafenib for treating a patient with hepatocellular carcinoma who previously failed treatment with sorafenib after lenvatinib.

Clinical Trials For Lung Metastases

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Phase: Phase 2
  • Intervention Type: Drug
  • Participants: 19
  • Start Date: March 2021
Brigatinib Before Brain Irradiation Trial (B3i Trial): A Phase II Trial of Brigatinib Alone for Brain Metastases From ALK+ Lung Cancer
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Intervention Type: Other
  • Participants: 400
  • Start Date: February 2021
CirculAting Tumor DNA in Patients DIagnosed With Lung Metastasis From Colorectal Cancer: candiDate Selection for Local AblaTive thErapy