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Hemithoracic Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma

A type of radiation therapy called hemithoracic radiotherapy could be safely used as part of the treatment plan for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and chest wall. This cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Pleural mesothelioma occurs in about 2,000 people in the United States every year. Diagnosis typically occurs in people over the age of 60, but pleural mesothelioma has occurred in people in their twenties.

Surgery, Chemotherapy and Radiation

A study conducted in Turkey looked at 11 patients with mesothelioma who received multimodal therapy. This type of treatment plan uses more than one type of therapy to remove or shrink cancer tumors. For mesothelioma, multimodal therapy usually involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

In this study, the patients first received a lung-sparing surgery called pleurectomy decortication to remove tumors. This is a two-part surgical procedure to treat mesothelioma. The first stage removes the membrane surrounding the lung. The second stage removes diseased tissue that has grown on or around the lung.

Next, the patients were treated with chemotherapy of cisplatin and pemetrexed. This is the only chemotherapy combination approved by the FDA. Finally, the patients received a third treatment, hemithoracic radiotherapy.

This type of radiotherapy is delivered using a special technique called helical tomotherapy. This type of radiotherapy treatment is highly targeted, which can help to protect healthy tissue from being damaged by radiation.

Hemithoracic Radiotherapy

The researchers found that after anywhere from 12 to 30 months after treatment, the overall survival rate was almost 80%. Some patients did experience side effects like lung inflammation and inflammation of the esophagus.

Based on these results, the researchers believe that hemithoracic radiotherapy applied with helical tomotherapy can be an effective treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma. They recommend that doctors use extra caution with the dosage to avoid the inflammation side effects.


Ozyurt H, Ozdemir S, Dogan B, Gunalp G, Ozden AS. Trimodality therapy of malignant pleural mesothelioma with helical tomotherapy. North Clin Istanb. 2023;10(2):172-180. Published 2023 Mar 28. doi:10.14744/nci.2023.53896. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10170385/


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