A minimally invasive method for cancer staging could prevent unnecessary surgery for malignant mesothelioma. The method involves putting a needle into the chest behind the breast bone. This area is called the mediastinum. The mediastinum contains critical lymph nodes. The presence or absence of cancer cells in these nodes can help determine whether a patient needs surgery for malignant mesothelioma. Now, a group of Canadian doctors say an ultrasound-guided needle biopsy procedure can provide as much information as more invasive options with less risk and pain. Staging Helps Direct Surgery for Malignant Mesothelioma Most mesothelioma patients receive chemotherapy. If the patient is healthy enough and the cancer has not spread, the patient may also have surgery for malignant mesothelioma. Some … Continue reading Needle Procedure Could Prevent Unneeded Surgery for Malignant Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma patients who get pleural catheters to help with shortness of breath may pay a high price. New research shows about a quarter of them will develop new mesothelioma tumors at the spot where the catheter was placed. In a newly published paper, Canadian researchers say doctors need to consider the possibility of these catheter tract metastases (CTMs) when advising mesothelioma patients. Indwelling Pleural Catheters and Mesothelioma Many mesothelioma patients develop excess fluid around their lungs. This fluid puts pressure on the lungs and makes it hard for patients to get a deep breath. Shortness of breath is a common symptom of pleural mesothelioma. Indwelling pleural catheters (IPCs) can help. An IPC is a little tube inserted into the pleural … Continue reading Shortness of Breath Treatment Can ‘Seed’ New Mesothelioma Tumors
There was some sobering news out of Canada this week that gives even more urgency to the need to find a cure for malignant mesothelioma. According to data compiled by Statistics Canada, while the net survival of several types of cancer has increased since the early 1990s, there has been little change in mesothelioma survival. Analysis of Cancer Net Survival The report, published in the journal Health Reports, calculated changes in net survival (where cancer is hypothetically the only possible cause of death) of patients with 30 different types of cancer during two 2-year time periods — 1992 to 1994 and 2012 to 2014. After factoring for age-related changes, the report analyzes differences in the five-year survival rates of patients … Continue reading Mesothelioma Survival Has Changed Little in Two Decades in Canada
Should mesothelioma patients consider having radiotherapy as a way to keep their symptoms from coming back after surgery? A new study suggests that the answer is probably “no”. In an article published in the online medical journal PLoS One, researchers concluded that radiotherapy aimed at stopping the spread of pleural mesothelioma and delaying the return of symptoms may not not have much of an impact on quality of life for patients. That recently-released finding comes from data collected during the Surgical and Large Bore Procedures in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma and Radiotherapy (SMART) trial, a multicenter trial based in the UK. Evaluating Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma The purpose of the SMART trial was to evaluate the effectiveness of prophylactic radiotherapy started within … Continue reading Prophylactic Radiotherapy for Pleural Mesothelioma: Is it Worth It?
Patients with malignant mesothelioma and their families are not the only ones impacted by the costs associated with the asbestos-linked cancer. There is also a societal economic burden that can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. That is the conclusion of a new report published by Canadian occupational medicine and public health experts in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine. A History of Mesothelioma in Canada The objective of the study was to estimate the economic burden of lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma – the most devastating of the illnesses linked to asbestos exposure. Beginning as early as the 1930s and 1940s, thousands of Canadian workers, like other workers around the world, were exposed to asbestos at work, … Continue reading The Economic Burden of Malignant Mesothelioma
New research out of Canada suggests that mesothelioma tumor thickness could be used to help predict mesothelioma survival and select the best treatments. Doctors at the University of Toronto compared the thickness of pleural mesothelioma tumors in 65 patients who had not yet received any treatment with their eventual outcomes and found a definite correlation. Summarizing their research in The European Respiratory Journal, the team called their findings “extremely encouraging” because of their potential to help direct treatment for the best mesothelioma outcomes. Setting up the Research All of the patients in the new study had been chosen to undergo “surgery for mesothelioma after radiation therapy”, also known by the acronym SMART. The total thickness of each patient’s mesothelioma tumors … Continue reading Mesothelioma Tumor Thickness May Help Predict Treatment Outcomes
There is more evidence this week that the tumor suppressor gene known as BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) could help doctors distinguish pleural mesothelioma from other types of lung cancer – even cancers that commonly spread to the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is unique among cancers in that it starts on the pleural membrane that surrounds the lungs. When other types of cancers metastasize to this region, however, it can be nearly impossible to tell them apart. Especially since late-stage pleural mesothelioma also shares many of the same symptoms as lung cancer, including cough, chest pain, and fatigue. But a team of pathologists in British Columbia has found that, despite their similarities, malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer can be very different in … Continue reading Gene Test May Help Distinguish Pleural Mesothelioma from Lung Cancer
A team of international researchers say they have identified a promising new biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare but deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. A biomarker is a compound found in the tissue, blood or other body fluid that is produced in higher amounts when disease is present. In the case of a new report presented at the annual International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer conference, the potential mesothelioma biomarker is a protein called fibroblast growth factor 18 (FGF18). Biomarkers for Mesothelioma Diagnosis and Prognosis The identification of potential new diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers is especially important for people with pleural mesothelioma because there is no definitive test for the disease. Often, diagnosing mesothelioma is … Continue reading International Team Identifies Potential New Mesothelioma Biomarker
Canadian researchers say the mesothelioma drug pemetrexed (Alimta) might make a good option for the specialized treatment known as heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), as long as the temperature is just right. Approved by the FDA in 2004, pemetrexed is still the only drug specifically approved for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma patients typically receive it systemically, through infusion, along with a platinum-based drug like cisplatin. But a Montreal research team says pemetrexed might also be effective if it is delivered using the HIPEC method. Since this use of pemetrexed has not yet been supported by preclinical studies, the team tested the theory in lab rats using varying drug concentrations and temperatures. What they discovered was valuable information about HIPEC … Continue reading A New Option for HIPEC Mesothelioma Treatment?
Pathologists in Canada and France have identified what they believe are two of the most important tests for distinguishing between a benign growth on the mesothelial membrane and malignant mesothelioma. Their work could be a key step toward better, more accurate mesothelioma diagnosis. The Challenge of Mesothelioma Diagnosis Associated almost exclusively with asbestos exposure, malignant mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive and lethal types of cancer. Fortunately, it is also extremely rare. When a patient is believed to have mesothelioma, it is crucial for doctors to be able to quickly and accurately confirm the disease to optimize the patient’s odds of mesothelioma survival. But this is easier said than done. Not only do many of the symptoms of mesothelioma … Continue reading New Tests May Lead to Earlier, More Accurate Mesothelioma Diagnosis