One of the most important things that happens after a patient is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma — or any form of cancer — is a process known as staging. Doctors need to know how far the cancer has spread in order to determine the best treatment protocol, and do so through diagnostic testing. In most cases PET-CT is used, but researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine have shown that adding diagnostic laparoscopy to the tools used in staging mesothelioma dramatically improves the information gathered, and detects tumors that would otherwise have been missed.
Diagnostic Laparoscopy Improves Accuracy of Pleural Mesothelioma Staging
Though malignant pleural mesothelioma first occurs in the organ that lines the lungs and other thoracic organs, the disease can quickly progress into other parts of the body, including the abdomen. Physicians need accurate information about how far the tumors have spread so that they can craft the most effective treatment plan.
According to a report published in the journal Annals of Thoracic Surgery, the Baylor researchers identified 187 mesothelioma patients who had undergone either PET-CT scans or standard CT scans along with diagnostic laparoscopy. Laparoscopy involves making a small incision and inserting a thin tube with a camera mounted on its end to provide an internal view. In the mesothelioma patients, laparoscopy revealed that tumors had spread from the chest to the abdomen in 17 percent of the patients. Of those, PET-CT only detected the spread in 23 percent, indicating no peritoneal spread in 77 percent. Many patients’ peritoneal tumors would not have been detected or treated had it not been for the use of laparoscopy.
Researchers Encourage Use of Diagnostic Laparoscopy to Ensure Proper Mesothelioma Staging
Speaking of their findings, lead author R. Taylor Ripley said, “PET-CT has low sensitivity and diagnostic accuracy to identify peritoneal disease in malignant pleural mesothelioma. DL as part of pre-operative staging defines an important subset of patients with bicavitary disease.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, having accurate information about your condition is just the start of what you need. For more resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.