There is more evidence that surgery and intraperitoneal chemotherapy can lead to long-term mesothelioma survival.
The news comes from an Australian study of more than 1,200 cancer patients. The study finds that one in five peritoneal mesothelioma patients who had this treatment combination were still alive 10 years later.
Peritoneal Cancer Survival with Surgery
Peritoneal cancers occur on the lining of the abdomen. Peritoneal mesothelioma starts on this peritoneal membrane. Some other peritoneal cancers start elsewhere in the body and spread to the peritoneum.
The new Australian study analyzed the cases of peritoneal cancer patients who had cytoreductive surgery between 1996 and 2018.
Cytoreductive surgery aims to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Past studies have found that this approach, combined with intraperitoneal chemotherapy, supports long-term mesothelioma survival.
Long-Term Mesothelioma Survival After CRS
The study group included 687 women and 538 men. Three hundred and sixty-three study subjects had a primary diagnosis of colorectal cancer. The next largest group included patients with appendix cancers. Mesothelioma patients made up the third largest group, followed by ovarian cancer patients.
During surgery, patients received a rinse of chemotherapy drugs directly in the abdomen. In the US, this type of chemotherapy is usually heated before it is administered. This is referred to as HIPEC.
The goal of intraperitoneal chemotherapy is to kill any cancer cells surgeons might have missed or could not reach. Fewer residual mesothelioma cells means there is less likelihood of new tumors and a higher chance for long-term mesothelioma survival.
Surgery and Chemotherapy Helps Patients Beat the Odds
Average peritoneal mesothelioma survival is about one year. But mesothelioma patients in the new study had a median overall survival of five years.
Nearly half of the mesothelioma patients were still living five years after the procedure. Almost 20 percent experienced long-term mesothelioma survival of 10 years.
This is one of the largest studies of the CRS and intraperitoneal chemotherapy treatment combination. It appears to confirm what a number of previous studies have found.
In 2017, an international study of the CRS/HIPEC treatment showed it was powerful enough to extend survival for people biphasic mesothelioma – a rare but even more aggressive subtype.
Although long-term mesothelioma survival is unusual, it is not unheard of. The longest-living documented mesothelioma survivor, Paul Kraus, has been living for more than 20 years. Kraus was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 1997. He has achieved long-term mesothelioma survival with a combination of conventional and alternative therapies and lifestyle changes.
Kyang, LS, et al, “Long-term survival outcomes of cytoreductive surgery and perioperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy: Single-institutional experience with 1225 cases”, July 16, 2019, Journal of Surgical Oncology, Epub ahead of print, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jso.25642