Between malignant pleural mesothelioma and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma — the two most frequently-made mesothelioma diagnoses — peritoneal mesothelioma occurs far less frequently. Among the roughly 3,500 patients diagnosed with the deadly form of asbestos-related cancer in the United States each year, only about 700 have the tumors appear in their abdominal lining: almost all others are stricken with the form of the disease that forms in the chest cavity and lining of the lungs. Still, though peritoneal mesothelioma is less common, it also carries a significantly better prognosis and survival time. There has been greater success with surgical treatment of the disease, and patients often live five years or longer. Still, it is important to understand the variables that can affect treatment outcomes, and now a new Chinese study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer has made an important discovery: nutritional status of these patients plays an important and predictive role in their survival.
Scientists Use Lab Results to Evaluate Nutritional Levels
According to the study conducted by researchers at Cangzhou Central Hospital, by evaluating peritoneal mesothelioma patients nutritional status, doctors will be better able to make important decisions about treatments. Using a computer-based tool called the Controlling Nutritional Status (CONUT) score, the scientists were able to evaluate laboratory results on levels of total cholesterol, serum albumin, and total lymphocyte to give them an immediate summary of the level of nutrition being provided to the body’s immune system cells. This is important, because the more nutrients these cells have access to, the more robust their defenses against mesothelioma cells’ advances.
Study Proves Test Scores Are Highly Predictive
This study does not represent the first time that CONUT scores were used to evaluate mesothelioma patient prognosis. A similar study was conducted in 2017 on those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, and it too indicated that the lower the CONUT score, the worse the patient’s prognosis. But the recent peritoneal mesothelioma study added and additional gauge, measuring the levels of lactate dehydrogenase, an enzyme that is released when cells are damaged by mesothelioma. This enzyme has proven to be a separate and highly accurate predictor of patient outcomes, as once released into the abdominal fluid it accumulates, and seems to exacerbate patient illness. Though physicians have several variables by which they can judge a mesothelioma patient’s overall health and predict their outcomes, the CONUT scores combined with the levels of this enzyme seem to provide a highly accurate tool that can be relied upon when determining prognosis.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, maintaining good nutritional health is just one way that you can give yourself the best possible outcome. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.