When a patient is diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, they’re generally given a better prognosis than those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma impacts the abdominal cavity rather than the thoracic cavity that holds the lungs, and generally responds best to a combination of surgery and heated chemotherapy poured directly into the surgical cavity. The exception to this extended prognosis has long been those whose peritoneal tumors have grown to the point where they are too large to be removed surgically. Now French researchers have reported successfully delivering chemotherapy in two different ways, shrinking the tumors small enough to be eligible for tumor removal surgery.
Chemotherapy and Peritoneal Mesothelioma
When it comes to malignant mesothelioma, chemotherapy is generally delivered in two different ways. It can be delivered via I.V., which infuses the chemical solution throughout the entire body, or it can be administered directly, usually through a process called HIPEC that involves a heated chemotherapy solution being poured directly into the open surgical site after surgical removal of the tumors. This approach has been used for peritoneal mesothelioma, and has recently been used successfully in pleural mesothelioma.
For patients whose mesothelioma tumors are too large for surgery, I.V. chemotherapy can work but also has the well-known adverse side effects of harming healthy cells and causing patients to feel extremely ill. HIPEC has the advantage of being able to kill cancer cells left behind after surgery, but is only an option when the area has been exposed during surgery.
French Patient Benefits From Bi-Directional Chemotherapy
In recent days, French researchers have reported remarkable success in their treatment of a patient whose peritoneal mesothelioma tumors were deemed too large to be surgically removed. Rather than simply treating him with IV chemotherapy, they opted for bi-directional chemotherapy that administered chemotherapy both through infusion and directly via a protocol called PIPAC which is similar to HIPAC but delivered as a spray-on via a laparoscopic approach.
By spraying chemotherapy directly to the peritoneal tumors, the researchers successfully shrunk them small enough for them to be able to be surgically removed. The results have been deemed promising, and it is hoped that more patients will be eligible for this approach.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, there are many new treatment protocols available to provide extended survival time. For information about the many resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.