Researchers from the University of Arizona have just issued the results of a mesothelioma study showing that surgery benefits patients diagnosed with sarcomatous and biphasic mesothelioma. This strengthens the findings of a similar study published just a month ago by researchers from Allegheny General Hospital, the University and Pennsylvania and the Maryland Proton Treatment Center whose study indicated that doctors who don’t recommend aggressive surgery for mesothelioma patients with the two rare subtypes are working against their patients’ better interests.
The results of the most recent mesothelioma study were published in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. The researchers were specifically looking for data regarding outcomes for patients who had been diagnose with the rarest forms of the already rare form of cancer: sarcomatoid mesothelioma and biphasic mesothelioma. Where it has long been understood that those diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma benefit from aggressive surgery, there have been recommendations against operating for patients with the other two types because their outcomes were not thought to be as positive. But in looking at data contained within the National Cancer Database, they found that as long as patients with the two rarer types of mesothelioma with either in stage I or stage II of their cancer, having surgery resulted in additional months of survival time.
Mesothelioma has been determined to have three different subtypes. Though the differences are only identifiable at the microscopic level, they have been determined to have a big impact on how patients respond to the available treatment protocols. The two rarer forms — sarcomatoid and biphasic — do not respond to chemotherapy or radiation therapy as well as epithelioid mesothelioma cell types do, and as a result patients diagnosed with the two rarer types tend to have shorter survival times. But the study, which looked at the results of 878 mesothelioma patients who had those rarer subtypes of the disease, found that the impact of surgery was positive for all subtypes, and that those who chose not to have surgery lived on average three less months than those who did have surgery. In all cases, the researchers found that it is important that the patients overall health be good, as aggressive surgery does not provide positive outcomes for patients who are medically fragile.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need access to top-of-the-line medical care that will guide you towards the best possible treatment. For assistance in accessing the resources you need, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.