Artificial Intelligence in Mesothelioma Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment Planning

Artificial Intelligence

Two newly-published studies highlight some of the ways that artificial intelligence may help with the diagnosis and treatment of malignant mesothelioma.  The first study focuses on machine learning algorithms for mesothelioma diagnosis. Researchers used data from Turkey, which has a high rate of mesothelioma among families.  A separate study from New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center demonstrates the role that artificial intelligence can play in planning mesothelioma radiotherapy. Both studies suggest that machine learning may be a valuable tool to help doctors tackle asbestos cancer.  How Does Machine Learning Work? Artificial intelligence refers to intelligence generated by a computer. Like people, computers have to “learn” before they can provide intelligent answers to medical questions.  In both of the new studies, … Continue reading Artificial Intelligence in Mesothelioma Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment Planning »

Chemoperfusion Treatment for Mesothelioma: Chemo Without the Side Effects?

Chemoperfusion Treatment for Mesothelioma

New research suggests that chemoperfusion treatment for mesothelioma may buy patients more time without the side effects of traditional chemotherapy.  Chemoperfusion treatment involves injecting cancer-killing drugs directly into the vessels that feed a pleural mesothelioma tumor.  The research was presented during a virtual session of the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual meeting. Researchers showed how this novel approach could improve quality of life for mesothelioma patients.  Limitations of Chemotherapy Pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer with few treatment options. Most mesothelioma patients start with chemotherapy. Alimta (pemetrexed) is the primary chemotherapy drug for mesothelioma.  But chemotherapy has drawbacks that chemoperfusion treatment for mesothelioma might avoid.  Conventional chemotherapy circulates drugs throughout the body. That means that normal cells can absorb them … Continue reading Chemoperfusion Treatment for Mesothelioma: Chemo Without the Side Effects? »

Proton Therapy for Mesothelioma: New Consensus Statement

proton therapy for mesothelioma

A group of international experts in radiation oncology say proton therapy for mesothelioma may be a safer alternative to standard radiotherapy.  Proton therapy uses protons instead of photons to destroy mesothelioma tumor cells.  The group evaluated both types of radiation therapy. They conclude that proton therapy for mesothelioma is less likely to damage the opposite lung and other organs.  What is Proton Therapy? Conventional radiation therapy for mesothelioma uses photons. A radiation oncologist delivers photons into the tumor with a linear accelerator. The photons or X-rays permanently damage the DNA. Damaged mesothelioma cells cannot grow and divide normally and the cells die.  The downside of standard radiation therapy is that normal tissue absorbs some of the damaging photons, too. This … Continue reading Proton Therapy for Mesothelioma: New Consensus Statement »

Radiotherapy Before Mesothelioma Surgery May Not Be Worth the Risk

Radiotherapy before mesothelioma surgery

Cancer doctors at Mayo Clinic say they do not plan to start routinely performing radiotherapy before mesothelioma surgery. The idea is based on a radiation protocol called SMART. The team monitored how well the SMART protocol worked among their pleural mesothelioma patients over a one year period.  The Mayo doctors acknowledged that radiotherapy before mesothelioma surgery can sometimes improve outcomes. But too many of their patients developed serious complications. In a recently-published article, the team concludes that SMART may not be worth the risk for most patients.  The SMART Way to Treat Mesothelioma? Pleural mesothelioma grows on the membrane that surrounds the lungs. Mesothelioma tumors lie close to the lungs and heart and may spread to one or both lungs. … Continue reading Radiotherapy Before Mesothelioma Surgery May Not Be Worth the Risk »

Targeted Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma May Extend Survival in the Right Patients

targeted radiotherapy for mesothelioma

A meta-analysis conducted by some of the country’s top cancer researchers says targeted radiotherapy for mesothelioma can help some people live longer. It is the first such analysis of targeted radiation after lung-sparing mesothelioma surgery. The team focused on intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). IMRT is more precise than earlier forms of radiation treatment.  The new article appears in Practical Radiation Oncology. It is a meta-analysis of ten smaller studies. The researchers conclude that healthier surgery patients could safely consider targeted radiotherapy for mesothelioma. Making Radiotherapy Less Toxic In the past, radiation for mesothelioma has sometimes done more harm than good. Earlier types of radiation treatment were not as precise as IMRT. When radiation spills over into healthy tissue, it … Continue reading Targeted Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma May Extend Survival in the Right Patients »

Study Supports Curative Radiation Therapy for Pleural Mesothelioma

radiation therapy for pleural mesothelioma

A new study out of Turkey supports the idea of using highly targeted radiation therapy for pleural mesothelioma that can’t be treated surgically. Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer that grows on the membrane around the lungs. The membrane is called the pleura. Like all forms of mesothelioma, it carries a grim prognosis. But the Turkish researchers say new radiotherapy techniques offer the promise of better outcomes. They compared two types of radiation therapy for pleural mesothelioma. They found that both could be delivered safely and with limited damage to nearby organs.  Unrectable Pleural Mesothelioma The first-line treatment for pleural mesothelioma is chemotherapy. Ideally, chemotherapy will help to shrink the pleural mesothelioma. Then doctors can remove most of it surgically. They … Continue reading Study Supports Curative Radiation Therapy for Pleural Mesothelioma »

Antibiotic May Boost Response to Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma

response to radiation therapy

A common antibiotic may improve mesothelioma patients’ response to radiation therapy.  The concept is based on new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.  Doctors there gave the antibiotic vancomycin to genetically modified mice. The mice had been modified to develop cancer. Mice that got the antibiotic had a better response to radiation therapy than untreated mice.  The effect applied not only to the treated tumor but also to tumors outside the treatment area. A heightened response to radiation therapy could be good news for patients with metastatic mesothelioma.  Understanding Cancer Response to Radiation Therapy Radiation therapy combats malignant mesothelioma by disrupting the DNA inside cancer cells. Mesothelioma tumors are irregularly-shaped which can make them … Continue reading Antibiotic May Boost Response to Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma »

Drug May Make Mesothelioma Cells More Sensitive to Radiation

sensitive to radiation

Scottish cancer researchers say they have found a way to make mesothelioma cells more sensitive to radiation.  Radiotherapy is one of the tools doctors can use to help slow progression of the asbestos cancer. It can also help alleviate mesothelioma symptoms.  But proteins expressed by mesothelioma cells can make them less sensitive to radiation. The Glasgow-based research team is getting around this protection with a sensitizing drug. The drug mimics a process that already happens in healthy people. Radiotherapy in the Treatment of Mesothelioma Radiotherapy is not usually the primary treatment for malignant mesothelioma. Most mesothelioma patients have chemotherapy as their first-line treatment.  But newer technology means that radiation can be more targeted than it used to be. This means … Continue reading Drug May Make Mesothelioma Cells More Sensitive to Radiation »

Signs of Peritoneal Mesothelioma After Radiotherapy

signs of peritoneal mesothelioma after radiotherapy

Japanese researchers are reminding doctors to watch for signs of peritoneal mesothelioma in people who have undergone past radiotherapy.  Many cancer patients undergo radiotherapy. Radiation disrupts the DNA inside cancer cells. This can help keep these malignant cells from replicating and spreading.  But radiation treatment also has a downside. It can cause cellular changes in healthy cells, too. This can cause side effects right away, or decades later.  As more people have radiation and survive, scientists at the Shinshu University School of Medicine say more of them could develop radiation-related mesothelioma later in life. But the signs of peritoneal mesothelioma years after radiation are easy to miss. Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case Study The new report is based on the case of … Continue reading Signs of Peritoneal Mesothelioma After Radiotherapy »

IMRT for Mesothelioma: Barriers to Completing Treatment

PD-L1 inhibitor nivolumab

MD Anderson researchers say too many patients who might benefit from IMRT for mesothelioma never complete the treatment. The problem could be impacting their survival. Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) is a type of targeted radiation. It is designed to direct as much radiation as possible into the mesothelioma tumor without harming the surrounding tissue.  Patients who have a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and IMRT for mesothelioma have the best odds of survival. But at MD Anderson Cancer Center, only two thirds of eligible patients completed IMRT after mesothelioma surgery. The new study aimed to find out why. Trimodal Therapy and Mesothelioma Survival Malignant mesothelioma rarely responds to a single cancer therapy. Trimodal therapy combines several different treatments to maximize success.  … Continue reading IMRT for Mesothelioma: Barriers to Completing Treatment »

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