A high platelet count may not bode well for people battling malignant pleural mesothelioma. New evidence suggests that survival rates may be higher for mesothelioma patients with a lower platelet count.
This news comes from the Kocaeli University which analyzed malignant mesothelioma patients between 2008 and 2014. They wanted to know if certain clinical characteristics could predict longer patient survival.
Platelets and Health
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. It develops from cells of the mesothelium, the lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. While it is uncommon, it has a high mortality rate.
Smaller than either red or white blood cells, platelets are the components in blood that facilitate clotting. The normal range for platelet counts is 150,000 to 400,000 platelets per microliter (mcL).
In this study, mesothelioma patients with a platelet count greater than 400.000 μl had worse survival rates. And those patients with a lower platelet count had a higher survival rate.
Clinical Factors that Affect Patient Survival
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a locally growing and aggressive tumor. It has low chemotherapy response rates and overall survival. Treatment strategies often include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.
Scientists have isolated the most important factors that affect patient survival. These include the tumor stage, lymph node status, and histologic subtype.
The Kocaeli University Department of Oncology may have uncovered a new clinical factor. This new clinical factor may provide mesothelioma patients with hope for longer survival.
Platelet Count for Mesothelioma Prognosis
The patients included in this study were 51% male and 49% female. The average age at diagnosis was 58 years old. Only 29% of the patients had known asbestos exposure. And 70% had the advanced-stage disease at the time of diagnosis.
Chemotherapy was planned for 90% of the patients. Those remaining could not receive chemotherapy because of poor clinical scores. Advanced statistical tests found certain clinical factors were connected to patient survival. These included a lower platelet count.
Platelet count is a clinical test that measures the number of platelets in the blood. Platelets are cells that help a patient’s blood clot. Cancer patients often have a lower platelet count.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma patients with a platelet count greater than 400.000 μl had worse survival.
Oncologists can Use Platelet Count as Predictive Marker
Platelet count is just one possibility for helping doctors predict mesothelioma prognosis. Platelet counts are high in cancer malignancies. Research shows a significant connection between the patient’s platelet count and progression-free survival and overall survival.
The threshold platelet count of greater than 400.000 μl may be used as a predictive marker for oncologists. Doctors can use platelet count as an independent prognostic factor for progression-free survival and overall survival.
In this study, patients with a high platelet count had a worse prognosis. And those with a lower platelet count had a higher survival rate.
Longer, prospective and randomized studies are needed to understand the nature of the disease and to evaluate the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of mesothelioma.
Acikgoz, O., Sonkaya, A., & Uygun, K. (2021). Does Platelet Count Affect Survival Outcomes in Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma? Eurasian Journal of Medicine and Investigation. 2021;5(4):508–514. https://www.ejmi.org/10.14744/ejmi.2021.09122/