Dr. Paul Sugarbaker is one of the nation’s leading mesothelioma surgeons, so when he calls a study’s results impressive, people take notice. He recently authored a report detailing positive outcomes seen from a new protocol for peritoneal mesothelioma: The patients involved in the study have lived as long as 19 years with the treatment.
Protocol Delivers Long-Term Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival
Peritoneal mesothelioma affects the abdominal cavity, and patients diagnosed with the disease often have longer survival times than do those with the pleural version which impacts the thoracic cavity. Though 19-year survival times are unheard of, that is what Sugarbaker reports accomplishing among the six patients he and his colleague O. Anthony Stuart have seen using a new treatment protocol.
The two physicians have treated six patients diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma using the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel delivered via a catheter. The catheter process is known as NIPEC, or normothermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and like the HIPEC treatment that delivers heated chemotherapy drugs directly into an open surgical site immediately after tumor removal, NIPEC administers the medication directly to the impacted area, where it remains. The drugs are delivered at room temperature through a catheter to the peritoneal cavity, and the process is done repeatedly.
Sugarbaker Says Treatment Warrants Further Study
It is thought that peritoneal mesothelioma forms in patients’ abdomens after asbestos fibers have been ingested. Though all types of mesothelioma are rare, with only about 3,500 patients diagnosed each year, only 20 percent of those cases are peritoneal. The condition is always considered fatal, but experts have been encouraged by the positive results yielded through HIPEC, a surgical approach that bathes the abdomen with heated chemotherapy drugs after tumors have been removed. The process, which has provided patients with median overall survival times of about five years, kills any microscopic cancer cells left behind and avoids the adverse side effects that come with systemic chemotherapy treatment.
According to Drs. Sugarbaker and Stuart, the six patients they’ve treated using repeated doses of paclitaxel via NIPEC had remarkable results. The catheters were inserted and remained in place in the abdomen, and four of the six are still alive, having survived 8, 13, 18 and 19 years. Though two patients have died, they each survived 15 years.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma and you would like information on the treatments available to you, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.