Breakthroughs in Mesothelioma in 2020

breakthroughs in mesothelioma

In spite of a global pandemic, there were some major breakthroughs in mesothelioma in 2020 that made the year a hopeful one for people fighting asbestos cancer. Malignant mesothelioma is the most serious illness caused by exposure to asbestos fibers.  Mesothelioma is still not curable. But researchers have made major breakthroughs in mesothelioma diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment this year.  Mesothelioma Treatment Advances Mesothelioma treatment saw the biggest breakthroughs in mesothelioma in 2020. The FDA approved the first systemic treatment for mesothelioma since 2004. That was the year that Alimta (pemetrexed) received approval.  They approved a combination of the immunotherapy drugs Opdivo and Yervoy. Yervoy helps activate and proliferate T-cells. Opdivo helps existing T-cells discover the mesothelioma  tumor. The patients who … Continue reading Breakthroughs in Mesothelioma in 2020 »

High PD-L1 Levels Could Be Bad News for Mesothelioma Surgery Candidates

Yet another new study has found a link between PD-L1 levels and mesothelioma survival – this time in people slated to have surgery for malignant pleural mesothelioma.  PD-L1 stands for programmed cell death ligand 1. It is a protein expressed by some cancer cells that helps them avoid immune system attack.  Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine are the latest to show that higher PD-L1 levels may lead to a worse mesothelioma prognosis. Their study focused specifically on mesothelioma surgery candidates.  The results were published recently in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.  PD-L1 Levels and Mesothelioma Prognosis Even healthy people express some amount of PD-L1. Its job is to suppress the part of the immune system that attacks foreign tissues. … Continue reading High PD-L1 Levels Could Be Bad News for Mesothelioma Surgery Candidates »

Age is a Factor in Mesothelioma Survival After Surgery

mesothelioma survival after surgery

Age appears to be one of the biggest predictors of mesothelioma survival after surgery. This holds true no matter which kind of surgery a patient has.  A new study from the University of Pennsylvania compared the outcomes of more than 2,000 mesothelioma surgery patients. They compared them by surgical type. They also compared their survival with that of people who did not have surgery. Mesothelioma survival after surgery was consistently longer for younger patients. The risk of death within a few months went up a little bit with each year of age. The news could help patients and doctors make better treatment decisions. Surgical Procedures for Mesothelioma Operating on mesothelioma patients is controversial. Mesothelioma tumors are irregularly shaped and difficult to … Continue reading Age is a Factor in Mesothelioma Survival After Surgery »

Mesothelioma Staging: Laparoscopy May Find Tumors PET-CT Misses

mesothelioma staging

Cancer researchers at Baylor College of Medicine say diagnostic laparoscopy (DL) improves the accuracy of pleural mesothelioma staging prior to surgery. It is especially valuable for patients with cancer in both the chest and abdomen. Staging is a way for doctors to determine how widespread cancer is. Accurate staging is critical for the best surgical outcomes. For the right patients, mesothelioma surgery can be a life saver.  Many mesothelioma patients undergo PET/CT as part of the staging process. But the Baylor study suggests that adding a tool called a laparoscope to the process may find tumors that PET-CT misses. What is Mesothelioma Staging? Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that grows on internal membranes. It usually occurs on the … Continue reading Mesothelioma Staging: Laparoscopy May Find Tumors PET-CT Misses »

Long-Term Mesothelioma Survival: Follow-up is Critical

long-term mesothelioma survival

A newly published French case report is a reminder that long-term mesothelioma survival requires long-term follow-up. The case comes from Aix-Marseille University in Marseille. In the Annals of Medicine and Surgery, doctors wrote about a man who survived mesothelioma for 14 years. In all that time, his cancer did not progress. The situation is unusual for mesothelioma. The life expectancy of most mesothelioma patients is about 18 months. Prolonged survival is two years or more. But the authors of the new report say their case shows that long-term mesothelioma survival is not impossible with the right approach. Treatment for Malignant Mesothelioma Malignant mesothelioma usually occurs in people who have lived or worked around asbestos. Many do not know they have … Continue reading Long-Term Mesothelioma Survival: Follow-up is Critical »

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Not Shortened by Organ Resection

peritoneal mesothelioma survival

A new study finds that organ resection during CRS/HIPEC surgery does not shorten peritoneal mesothelioma survival and may even help prolong it.  The new research included 174 peritoneal mesothelioma patients from cancer centers across the country. These patients had cytoreductive surgery followed by heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (CRS/HIPEC).  About half of the patients also had at least one organ removed to help prevent mesothelioma recurrence. The goal of the new study was to determine what impact, if any, this practice has on peritoneal mesothelioma survival. The answer appears to be, not much.  CRS/HIPEC and Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival About 20 percent of mesothelioma patients have the peritoneal variety. This type of mesothelioma occurs on the lining of the abdomen and can easily … Continue reading Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival Not Shortened by Organ Resection »

Virtual Support Group Can Help Mesothelioma Patients Weather Pandemic

Virtual Support Group

A virtual support group may help mesothelioma patients and families cope with the stress of fighting cancer during the pandemic.  Virtual groups give patients and their families a place to find emotional support and information when it may not be safe to meet in person.  Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston is just one of the many hospitals turning to online meetings for mesothelioma patients. The International Mesothelioma Program began holding monthly meetings via Zoom in September. Multiple studies show support groups can help patients and families enjoy a better quality of life with mesothelioma during and after cancer treatment. Many hope that a virtual support group can help mesothelioma patients connect, even if they cannot get together in person.  … Continue reading Virtual Support Group Can Help Mesothelioma Patients Weather Pandemic »

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 »

Gene Targeting Slows Aggressive Form of Pleural Mesothelioma

Aggressive Form of Pleural Mesothelioma

Scientists in Vienna are developing a new treatment for a particularly aggressive form of pleural mesothelioma.  This form of mesothelioma occurs in people with a genetic mutation. The mutation produces signals that fuel tumor growth. These patients typically have an even worse prognosis than other mesothelioma patients.  But the Austrian team came up with a way to block activation of the mutated gene. If the gene does not send its signal, this aggressive form of pleural mesothelioma may grow more slowly.  Aggression Fueled by Telomerase Malignant mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive kinds of cancer. It starts on the membranes around organs and can quickly spread to other parts of the body. By the time most people notice symptoms, … Continue reading Gene Targeting Slows Aggressive Form of Pleural Mesothelioma »

The Peritoneal Cancer Index in Mesothelioma Prognosis

peritoneal cancer index

The peritoneal cancer index is a valuable prognostic tool and should be considered in mesothelioma treatment planning. That is the word from a group of Finnish cancer researchers. They analyzed twelve years of data on peritoneal mesothelioma in their country. Mesothelioma patients with a higher peritoneal cancer index had a worse prognosis than those with a lower PCI. The group says cancer doctors ought to be including the PCI in their decision-making for people with peritoneal mesothelioma. What is the Peritoneal Cancer Index? Peritoneal mesothelioma makes up about a fifth of all mesothelioma cases. It grows on the peritoneum, a membrane that surrounds the abdominal organs. As cancer spreads, tumors can show up in other areas inside the peritoneal cavity.  … Continue reading The Peritoneal Cancer Index in Mesothelioma Prognosis »

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