Post-Obstructive Pneumonia in Patients with Cancer: A Review

Kenneth V.I. Rolston, Lior Nesher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Published literature on post-obstructive pneumonia is difficult to find and consists mainly of case reports or small case series. This entity is encountered most often in patients with advanced lung malignancy but is also occasionally seen in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). There are substantial differences in the manifestations, treatment, and outcomes of post-obstructive pneumonia in these two settings. When obstruction is present in patients with CAP, it is almost always secondary to an underlying pulmonary malignancy. In fact, the observation of an obstructive component in patients with CAP leads to the detection of primary or metastatic lung cancer in more than 50% of such individuals. Post-obstructive pneumonia in patients with advanced lung malignancy is far more common (~ 50% of patients) and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. The management of these patients is very challenging and involves multiple disciplines including medical oncology, pulmonary medicine, infectious diseases, intervention radiology, surgery, and intensive care teams. The administration of broad-spectrum antibiotic regimens is generally required. Refractory or recurrent infections despite the administration of appropriate antimicrobial therapy are the norm. Frequent and prolonged antibiotic administration leads to the development of resistant microflora. Complications such as lung abscess, empyema, and local fistula formation develop often. Relief of obstruction generally produces only temporary symptomatic improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalInfectious Diseases and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Advanced lung cancer
  • Broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy
  • Complications
  • Multi-disciplinary management
  • Post-obstructive pneumonia
  • Relief of bronchial obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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