In the hierarchy of treatments used for malignant mesothelioma, radiation therapy has frequently been ranked the lowest: though it can help to provide symptom relief, it has not generally been credited for extended survival or progression free survival. Now a study out of Turkey has introduced statistics that show the use of innovative targeted therapies may change that going forward.
Highly Targeted Radiation Therapy’s Use In Unresectable Mesothelioma
When patients are diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, their physicians immediately begin an intensive analysis of their particular symptoms and presentation of disease to determine their best treatment plan. Though some patients are put on an aggressive protocol that includes surgical removal of their tumors, many don’t have that option — their tumors are considered unresectable as a result of either the patient’s fragile physical condition or the positioning of the tumor itself.
Mesothelioma patients with unresectable malignant mesothelioma are left with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, neither of which have proven particularly effective. But researchers from Bahcesehir University in Istanbul, Turkey have published a report showing that newly developed radiation therapy techniques can provide better, more targeted outcomes.
New Radiation Therapy Technologies Offer Safer, More Effective Mesothelioma Treatment
When traditional radiation therapy is used to treat malignant mesothelioma, it carries the risk of damaging healthy cells and nearby organs while trying to kill mesothelioma cells. But newer, targeted forms of radiation therapy lowers that risk and can provide significant results. The two technologies profiled in the study are Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) and Helical Tomotherapy (HT). The first delivers small beams of radiation as the equipment rotates around the patient, while the second also delivers radiation from multiple directions by having the patient positioned in the center of a circular, donut-shaped machine.
According to study author Berrin Pehlivan writing in Biomedical Research International, “Both rotational techniques were successful in keeping the OAR doses below the universally accepted limits.” Perhaps more importantly, the use of the new three-dimensional technology may move radiation therapy away from the delivery of symptom relief for unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma to one that could actually provide a more promising prognosis and curative treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma and are looking for more information on innovative treatment approaches, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.