California Researchers Confirm Importance of Multidisciplinary Approach to Mesothelioma Treatment

While malignant mesothelioma remains a fatal diagnosis, innovations in surgical techniques and other treatments have made a significant impact on overall survival and quality of life. A recent study conducted by researchers from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California confirmed that increased specialization of mesothelioma physicians and the use of bi-disciplinary tumor boards makes a significant difference in the application of these treatments and in patient outcomes.

physicians meeting

Kaiser Permanente Researchers Analyze Historic Mesothelioma Patient Outcomes

The mesothelioma study was conducted by researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, an integrated healthcare system, who noted that in 2014, the system had regionalized surgical care for patients with the rare asbestos-related disease to increase specialization and standardize surgery. A regional bi-disciplinary tumor board was introduced in 2017 to further enhance the multidisciplinary approach. 

With previous studies showing that regionalizing and applying multidisciplinary review to patients with non-small cell lung cancer had improved outcomes, the scientists decided to review whether the shift to regionalized care for malignant pleural mesothelioma had yielded similar benefits. To do this, they studied the medical records of 368 adult patients with confirmed malignant pleural mesothelioma between 1/1/2009 and 12/31/2020, breaking them into two periods: 2009-2014 and 2015-2020.

Study Confirms That Multidisciplinary Approach Improves Mesothelioma Outcomes

While the researchers note that the rarity of malignant pleural mesothelioma makes studying any impacts a challenge, they also note that the regionalization of surgery and bi-disciplinary review in its treatment led to increased utilization of surgery as part of multimodal therapy, and that there was a direct correlation between patients who received tri-or bi-modality directed therapies and improved survival.

The scientists noted that in community practices, rates of surgical intervention for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma were historically low compared with that of tertiary care centers, but that with an experienced surgical team, the system was able to increase rates of cytoreductive surgery in community settings, with increased use of any treatment from 44% to 65% and increases in the number of surgeries performed increasing from 6% to 22%.

If you or someone you love needs assistance in finding mesothelioma treatment, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact 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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