Prophylactic Radiotherapy for Pleural Mesothelioma: Is it Worth It?

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? »

The Economic Burden of Malignant Mesothelioma

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 »

Mesothelioma Tumor Thickness May Help Predict Treatment Outcomes

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 »

Gene Test May Help Distinguish Pleural Mesothelioma from Lung Cancer

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 »

International Team Identifies Potential New Mesothelioma Biomarker

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 »

A New Option for HIPEC Mesothelioma Treatment?

Surgery for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

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? »

New Tests May Lead to Earlier, More Accurate Mesothelioma Diagnosis

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 »

Specialized Mesothelioma Procedure Provides Long Survival, Good Life Quality

There is some good news this week for peritoneal mesothelioma patients considering cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Not only can the procedure provide long-term mesothelioma survival, but even patients who have complications experience an improved quality of life within six months. The news is based on two newly-published studies, one conducted in France and the other in Canada. CRS/HIPEC for Long-Term Mesothelioma Survival Surgical oncologists at the University of Lyon have been performing CRS/HIPEC on select patients with peritoneal cancers such as mesothelioma since 1989. In their evaluation of 1,125 procedures, including 84 mesothelioma patients, over the past 25 years, median overall survival was 42 months and improved significantly for each 5-year period. “This study demonstrated that … Continue reading Specialized Mesothelioma Procedure Provides Long Survival, Good Life Quality »

Therapy Before Mesothelioma Surgery: Which is Better?

Targeted radiotherapy may be just as safe a way to prepare people for radical mesothelioma surgery as chemotherapy and may even result in less need for blood transfusion. That is the conclusion of a team of Canadian researchers who ran the first ever comparison of induction chemotherapy and induction radiotherapy in mesothelioma surgical outcomes. Induction Therapy for Mesothelioma In the context of mesothelioma treatment, induction therapy simply means the first in a series of therapeutic interventions. For mesothelioma patients, induction chemotherapy or targeted radiotherapy such as intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) can help improve surgical outcomes by shrinking the size of the tumor, increasing the odds that the surgeon can remove all of it. Induction therapy is also thought to help … Continue reading Therapy Before Mesothelioma Surgery: Which is Better? »

Blood Test Predicts Mesothelioma Surgery Outcomes

The medical community remains deeply divided over the risks and benefits of surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma, making the decision even more difficult for mesothelioma patients and their families. But researchers in Canada and Japan believe they have come up with a better way to make the decision process easier. The team has devised a scoring system based on a blood test to predict which mesothelioma patients are most likely to do well with radical surgery. The test measures the ratio between blood platelets and lymphocytes. Platelet-to-Lymphocyte Ratio The platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) is a way of measuring how effectively a patient’s immune system is responding to a threat like malignant mesothelioma. When the immune system perceives an “attack”, the body … Continue reading Blood Test Predicts Mesothelioma Surgery Outcomes »

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