Study Shows Significant Mesothelioma Survival Boost With Surgery

The role of surgery in the treatment of mesothelioma continues to generate controversy, but researchers in one of the largest studies of surgery’s role in mesothelioma treatment have concluded that combining tumor removal with chemotherapy has the single greatest positive impact on extending patient survival. Speaking to attendees of the virtual World Conference on Lung Cancer, Ahmed Alnajar, MD, of the University of Miami, said that despite poor survival rates associated with malignant pleural mesothelioma, surgical treatment has played a role in improving survival, and academic programs improved survival, based on their overall management plans.”

Surgery Provides Six Months Average Longer Mesothelioma Survival

The study retrospectively reviewed the National Cancer Database to find patients with resectable stage I to IIIa malignant pleural mesothelioma who were treated between 2004 and 2017. Though patients who had palliative surgery were excluded, the study included the surgical procedures used curatively to treat the rare, asbestos-related disease: pleurectomy, decortication, and extrapleural pneumonectomy. All patients in the study also received standard-of-care chemotherapy.  The group examined the records for 1,402 matched pairs of patients from which they could estimate overall survival and identify survival predictors. 

The researchers found a 5-year survival of 23.9% of mesothelioma patients who had surgery and chemotherapy as compared to 11.2% of those who only had chemotherapy, and at ten years 14.2% of the patients who had surgery were still alive compared with 3.6% of those who only had chemotherapy. Median overall survival at six months revealed a 40% survival difference between surgical and nonsurgical patients. 

Several Other Factors Impacted Mesothelioma Survival

In addition to the impact of including surgery to mesothelioma treatments, the researchers found that men had a 57% higher survival hazard than did women and that being treated at a community hospital rather than at an academic center increased risk by 14%. Risk also increased with age at a rate of 2% per year. The scientists now hope to look at the role that innovative therapies play in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma, including immunotherapy and CAR-T cells.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, staying up-to-date on the latest research is the best way to ensure that you are getting top-of-the-line care. For more information, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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