Adjuvant radiation therapy is frequently used in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, but a recent study published by researchers from the Duke University Medical Center and Stanford University Medical Center has doctors reconsidering its application. Comparing outcomes from patients who received the therapy and those who didn’t, the researchers found it yielded no improved survival.
Adjuvant Radiation Thought to Suppress Return of Tumors
Adjuvant radiation therapy is provided after an initial treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma in the hopes that it will suppress the formation of secondary tumors. The researchers’ goal was to achieve a better understanding of how life expectancy for patients receiving adjuvant radiation compared to those who received no radiation following surgery for Stage I, II or III pleural mesothelioma.
The analysis took advantage of the Duke University registry of patients with resected malignant pleural mesothelioma between 1996 and 2016, finding 212 who matched their criteria, as well as 1,615 identified in the National Cancer Database who had been treated between 2004 and 2015. The group specifically sought out differences in overall survival outcomes.
Analysis Found Radiation Used Most Often in Sickest Mesothelioma Patients
The group found that in both the Duke cohort and the National Cancer Database cohort, the mesothelioma patients who had been treated with radiation were more likely to have a more advance pathologic stage of the disease, and to be categorized as having margin-negative resection (which means that surgeons found no cancer cells in the margin of tissue adjoining where the tumors had been removed.
Follow-up information on both groups at 4.4 and 4.7 months after surgery found that those who had undergone the radiation treatment did not experience improved survival. They experienced similar time intervals and incidence of recurrence of the malignancy. Physicians treating mesothelioma patients will likely consider this information when weighing the expected benefits of the protocol against quality-of-life concerns.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, understanding the potential outcomes of each available treatment is essential to your decision making process. For more information or access to more resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.