Healthcare professionals treating patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma have identified surgery and chemotherapy as the two most effective treatment modalities currently available, but there are many variables in how these protocols are applied. There are multiple types of surgery used to resect mesothelioma’s tumors, multiple types of chemotherapy medication provided to patients, and even variations in whether chemotherapy is provided prior to surgery or after surgery has been completed. In an attempt to arrive at a definitive conclusion as to what approach provides patients with the best possible outcomes, researchers are embarking on a new clinical trial called EORTC 1205 with a goal of finally coming to a conclusive answer.
Pleurectomy/Decortication Chosen for Study
There are two types of surgery commonly used to take out mesothelioma cancer: they are pleurectomy/decortication (PD) and extra pleural pneumonectomy (EPP). The EPP procedure is more aggressive, removing an entire lung, while PD spares the affected lung and is considered less taxing on the patient. PD is also a surgery that more surgeons are comfortable performing. For all of those reasons, the scientists conducting the EORTC 1205 study decided to follow patients undergoing that surgery in four locations around the world – Belgium, Netherlands, Egypt and France — differentiating treatment approach by whether chemotherapy is delivered prior to the surgery or after the surgery is completed. The patients involved in the clinical trial have been selected based on being diagnosed with early-stage pleural mesothelioma, with no distinction on cell type.
Determining When Chemotherapy Provides the Most Benefit
The delivery of chemotherapy for malignant mesothelioma has two different goals depending upon when it is delivered. Chemotherapy delivered prior to surgery has a goal of shrinking the tumor before the surgeon attempts to remove it, thus giving the surgeon a greater chance of removing all of the malignant material. Chemotherapy delivered after surgery has a goal of killing any cancer cells that the surgery was not able to remove, or which may have been hidden from view.
To determine the success of both approaches, researchers will follow patients and gauge their condition based on progression free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), treatment-failure-free survival (TFFS), operative morbidity and mortality, toxicity and safety.
For information on participating in clinical trials or on the availability of different types of mesothelioma treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.