Patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma are faced with many difficult decisions, with the most important of all involving what medical approach should be taken to treat their disease. In the face of an aggressive terminal prognosis, many believe there’s little difference between the anticipated outcome of an aggressive approach versus a more palliative one designed to keep the patient comfortable. But a new study published in the journal Lung Cancer shows that belief is incorrect, and that there can be a significant survival difference between the two approaches.
Study Compares Surgery-Based Therapy to Medical Therapy in Mesothelioma Patients
The mesothelioma study’s objective was to compare overall survival in patients provided multimodality therapy including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to medical management based solely on palliative chemotherapy. It was conducted by researchers from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, who collected data on two separate cohorts of patients.
The first cohort received a trimodality protocol. It was made up of 106 mesothelioma patients, whose treatment included extended pleurectomy/decortication and who were treated in a specialized cancer clinic setting in London. The other group of 98 mesothelioma patients was treated at the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute in Canada during the same period, between 2009 and 2016, and received only medically-based palliative treatment.
Multi-Year Survival Advantage Provided by Mesothelioma Surgery
The results of the study were stunning, revealing that the median survival for those who had surgery, systemic chemotherapy and prophylactic radiation was 32 months. The medical group, 51% of whom received palliative care only and 40% receiving systemic chemotherapy, had a median survival of 10 months. Based on these results the researchers concluded that “aggressive therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma using cancer-directed surgery, systemic chemotherapy and prophylactic radiotherapy may provide a significant survival benefit in selected patients.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is essential that you work with experienced specialists who can guide you to through difficult medical decisions. For access to resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.