As medical science learns more about malignant mesothelioma, the frustrations in treating the illness have grown. Though more is understood about the condition and its causes, its prognosis remains poor, with overall survival hovering between 9 and 12 months for most patients. Among those eligible for surgical interventions, the median survival increases to between ten and 35 months, depending upon the pathologic stage, yet many physicians are hesitant about moving forward with surgery due to lack of reliable predictors for patient survival. To address this, a group of UK researchers set out to validate the nuclear grading system that gauges survival time by comparing the nuclei of a cancer cell against the nuclei of normal, healthy cells. The group found that the system can be highly predictive.
Nuclear Grading System for Mesothelioma Shows Value
The research into the nuclear grading system was a collaboration of researchers from the National Centre for Mesothelioma Research of the Imperial College of London, the NHS Foundation Trust, the I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, and others. The group’s goal was to determine whether the system could be used in assessing survival for patients with epithelioid malignant pleural mesothelioma.
To conduct the study, they evaluated the cases of 563 patients diagnosed with mesothelioma between 2003 and 2017. Of that group, 87% had undergone biopsies, with most only having a single tumor site sampled. They found that the median overall survival of the group was 14.7 months, with 31% having tumors ranked at Grade 1 and living 24.7 months; 52% having tumors ranked at Grade 2 and living 12.7 months; and 17% having tumors ranked at Grade 3 and living just 7.2 months.
Grading System Proves Highly Predictive of Mesothelioma Survival
In applying the grading system to actual survival, the group found that “the three-tier nuclear grading system predicted overall survival independent of age, procedural type, solid predominant growth pattern, necrosis and atypical mitosis.”
In making recommendations for future use of the grading system, the researchers found that using a single site had drawbacks, and suggested sampling either three sites or a maximum tissue dimension of at least 20 mm in instances where only a single site is used. The research is expected to guide mesothelioma physicians as they help patients make important treatment decisions in the future.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is important that you have a full understanding of all of your options. For helpful information, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.