Though malignant mesothelioma is always considered a fatal diagnosis, physicians and researchers have worked together to extend patient survival through the development of both medications and interventions. Though each patient’s condition will dictate the protocol that will serve them best, a recently conducted study has confirmed that the best results are derived from a multimodal treatment approach that combines chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.
Combined Treatment Approach Yields Improved Survival
According to the study published in the journal Thoracic Cancer, despite being diagnosed with advanced pleural mesothelioma, patients treated with chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation realized a median survival nearly twice as long as the average for their disease. The researchers from Mexico’s National Cancer Institute say that the combined approach attacks the tumors from all possible aspects, both slowing their growth and allowing patients significantly extended survival times.
Though almost every mesothelioma patient will be treated with chemotherapy to improve their condition and quality of life, the researchers determined that the treatment by itself will rarely be enough to provide extended survival. Rather, their study found that it must be combined with radiation, surgery, immunotherapy, or tumor treating fields, and usually at least two of these other approaches.
Wide Range of Combinations Allows Physicians to Customize Mesothelioma Treatment
Though surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is the multimodal combination that is offered most frequently, the availability of newer protocols such as tumor treating fields and immunotherapy have broadened the possibilities for patients, and particularly for those who are not good candidates for surgery.
For their study the Mexican researchers analyzed the results patients experienced after starting with chemotherapy and then following with pleurectomy/decortication (PD) surgery and targeted radiation therapy. In most patients the approach brought the growth of the most concerning tumors to a complete halt. According to lead author Dr. Oscar Arrieta, of the 15 patients followed, “The estimated locoregional-relapse-free survival at two years was 75.9% and the main pattern of recurrence was distant (72.7%).” The median overall survival was 23.6 months, leading the researchers to conclude that the approach is both feasible and safe.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is important that you work with those who truly understand the disease. For access to specialized resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.