Pleural effusion is common in patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is a build-up of fluid between the layers of the pleural that can make it difficult to breathe and can cause pain and coughing. Though traditionally viewed as a benign byproduct of the fatal asbestos-related disease, researchers in the United Kingdom recently explored the possibility that pleural effusions may have a role in the disease’s aggressive nature.
Researchers Investigate How Pleural Effusion Impacts Mesothelioma Survival
Researchers from the University of Oxford, the Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust, and other institutions collaborated to determine whether there are biological properties within pleural effusions in mesothelioma that have an impact on the cancer’s progression.
Noting that if their theory was confirmed it could have an impact on future decisions regarding aggressive fluid removal in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients, the researchers collected data from over 700 patients who had been diagnosed with and treated for the disease between 2008 and 2018 at three separate pleural units. They analyzed medical imaging of the patients’ tumors, the length of time that patients were exposed to significant levels of pleural fluid, and what their survival times were as well as performance status and other variables.
Pleurodesis Has Positive Impact on Mesothelioma Survival
The group determined that removing pleural effusions from patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma had a clear impact on their median survival. Patients undergoing complete pleurodesis achieved median survival of 473 days, those undergoing partial pleurodesis achieved median survival of 378 days, and those not having the procedure achieved only 258 days. However, they were unable to equate these findings with a determination specific to exposure to the fluid itself. They encourage future research into the possibility that the fluid might play some sort of facilitating role in cancer cell survival.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma and you need information on treatment options or other resources, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 for support and assistance.