Is Right-Sided Pleural Mesothelioma Worse than Left-Sided?

Pleural mesothelioma develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and chest wall. Pleural mesothelioma may develop in the lining of the chest wall on just one side of the chest. Previous research has suggested that right-sided pleural mesothelioma is associated with a poorer prognosis.

Yet, these were very small studies and estimates were not precise. Dr. Adjepong’s team decided to see if the side mattered. Does it matter if pleural mesothelioma is more on the left or right side?

Using National SEER Database to Study Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a highly aggressive and rare form of cancer. There are approximately 2,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Mesothelioma patients are often diagnosed at an advanced age. Patients also tend to have many other health conditions. A more precise diagnosis method will help clinicians to decide on the best treatment approach for patients.

The National Cancer Institute tracks cancer data among the U.S. population. It is called the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program. The SEER program is housed in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences.

The SEER Program provides national data on cancer statistics. Researchers can use this data to study mesothelioma treatments. Their goal is to reduce the cancer burden in the U.S.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology recently published an abstract on this topic. Turkish researchers used the SEER database to study right-sided pleural mesothelioma.


The study used a total of 5,064 cases diagnosed between 1975-2003 from the SEER database.

Certain factors often predict the likely outcome of a cancer diagnosis. These prognostic factors are important in every clinical trial. The factors used in this study were age, stage at diagnosis, gender, and tumor location.

The patients included were male (81%), aged 60 years or older (79.1%) with mostly right-sided mesothelioma (58.9%). The average patient survival time was 8 months.


Most interesting were their findings related to right-sided pleural mesothelioma. They found that right-sided mesothelioma was an independent predictor of mesothelioma-related death in early-stage disease.

This study confirms that right-sided pleural mesothelioma is associated with an increased risk of death in the early-stage diagnosis.


Parekh, Jay, Aslihan Yerlikaya, Yiyu Xie, Yesim Eralp, and Yaw Adjepong. “Laterality and survival in mesothelioma: A SEER database analysis.” (2022): e20594-e20594. https://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2022.40.16_suppl.e20594

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