Liquid Biopsy for Early Stage Mesothelioma Diagnosis

liquid biopsy

Canadian researchers are exploring a liquid biopsy test that could lead to early diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. The test is based on mesothelial precursor cells (MPC). The researchers say these cells – in combination with mesothelin and some kinds of stem cells – “could be implicated” in the development of mesothelioma.  A liquid biopsy detects cells in blood instead of tissue. The University of Toronto scientists think MPC in blood may be a new mesothelioma biomarker. If it proves to be true, this kind of biopsy might be able to identify mesothelioma patients even before they have symptoms. How Liquid Biopsy Works Patients with suspected mesothelioma may have many tests. Imaging scans and blood tests can help tell if a … Continue reading Liquid Biopsy for Early Stage Mesothelioma Diagnosis »

Novel Strategy May Improve Immuno-radiotherapy for Mesothelioma

Immuno-radiotherapy for Mesothelioma

Canadian scientists say suppressing certain kinds of immune system cells could improve the effectiveness of immuno-radiotherapy for mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a fast-growing membrane cancer caused by asbestos. Doctors have not found a single therapy that can beat it. For most patients, a combination of treatments offer the best survival odds. Immuno-radiotherapy for mesothelioma combines two types of treatments. Immunotherapy drugs activate the immune system while radiation attacks the tumor directly.  Mesothelioma tumors fight back against both kinds of treatments. But researchers testing a combination of the two may have found a way to make it even more powerful. How Immuno-Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma Works Malignant mesothelioma is one of the most treatment-resistant cancers. Doctors have to attack it from many different … Continue reading Novel Strategy May Improve Immuno-radiotherapy for Mesothelioma »

Pandemic-Related Mesothelioma Treatment Delays Could Impact Outcomes

mesothelioma treatment delays

Mesothelioma treatment delays that happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic will probably impact survival rates for some patients.  A new study of Canadian lung cancer patients found that more than half of them stopped or delayed treatment because of concerns about the virus this spring. Pleural mesothelioma is a lung-related cancer. Like lung cancer patients, mesothelioma patients face a higher risk of virus-related complications because they already have breathing problems.  But mesothelioma is also a fast-growing cancer. Most patients get several kinds of treatment at the same time. Mesothelioma treatment delays may give tumors a chance to grow unchecked.  A Catch-22 for Mesothelioma Patients Mesothelioma patients and others with lung diseases have had to make some difficult decisions because of … Continue reading Pandemic-Related Mesothelioma Treatment Delays Could Impact Outcomes »

Minimally Invasive Lymph Node Staging May Prevent Unnecessary Mesothelioma Surgery

lymph node staging for mesothelioma

A minimally invasive procedure for lymph node staging may help some pleural mesothelioma patients avoid the pain and risk of surgery. That is the conclusion of a recent study on endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA).  EBUS-TBNA is a minimally invasive method for testing the lymph nodes deep in the chest (mediastinal lymph nodes). If lymph node staging shows evidence of pleural mesothelioma, surgery is less likely to be effective.  Mediastinal Lymph Node Staging and Mesothelioma Pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer that starts on the membrane around the lungs. It can spread to the lungs and other organs and is usually fatal.  The mediastinal lymph nodes are located in the area between the lungs. When the body is fighting … Continue reading Minimally Invasive Lymph Node Staging May Prevent Unnecessary Mesothelioma Surgery »

Needle Procedure Could Prevent Unneeded Surgery for Malignant Mesothelioma

surgery for malignant mesothelioma

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 »

Shortness of Breath Treatment Can ‘Seed’ New Mesothelioma Tumors

mesothelioma tumors in lungs

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 »

Mesothelioma Survival Has Changed Little in Two Decades in Canada

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 »

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 »

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