American Society of Clinical Oncology Releases First Ever Guidelines for Mesothelioma

The well-respected American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has issued its first ever mesothelioma guideline, addressing all aspects of clinical management of the rare asbestos-related form of cancer.

ASCO was first formed in 1964 and today has over 40,000 members representing physicians practicing in all oncology subspecialties that treat patients with cancer.  Their assessment of available treatments concludes that chemotherapy is the primary form of treatment for patients diagnosed with the disease.

The society’s reason for identifying chemotherapy as the mainstay treatment is that most patients who are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are beyond the stage at which their tumors would be considered resectable.

For those whose tumors are able to be removed surgically, the group recommends that surgery alone is not enough, and that multimodal therapy that includes chemotherapy is appropriate, whether with or without radiation therapy.

The expert panel, chaired by Hedy L. Kindler, MD of the University of Chicago and Raffit Hassan, MD of the National Cancer Institute relied on more than 60 recommendations addressing the topics of diagnosis, staging, chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.

The study noted that the rarity of mesothelioma has made it difficult to study. According to the study:

 “Although no new drugs have been approved for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma since the approval of pemetrexed plus cisplatin in 2004, there have been significant recent advances in the understanding of the biology of mesothelioma and identifying new targets for therapy. Ongoing clinical trials suggest promising activity of several new agents in malignant pleural mesothelioma, but they are not sufficiently mature to make treatment recommendations.”

The key recommendations included a preference for thoracentesis for patients exhibiting symptoms with a biopsy to follow; contrast CT scan of the chest and upper abdomen for initial staging.

Chemotherapy to improve both survival and quality of life; surgery for patients who are early stage along with other therapies; and radiation suggested only following surgery or for palliative purposes.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need all the information you can get on available treatments and treatment centers. The Patient Advocates at are ready to provide you with all the guidance you need on this and other important topics related to your health and wellbeing.

Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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