A study from Stanford University describes two mesothelioma patients who experienced an improvement in their condition without clinical treatment. This is a rare occurrence for patients with mesothelioma, even with the usual treatment.
Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that grows in the lining of organs. This usually happens in the lungs or abdomen. It can also occur in the testis and the heart.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and can be hard to treat. Multimodal treatment is a common option because it involves more than one type of treatment. These are usually chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
These types of treatments can be very hard on the body. Patients who are already frail when they arrive at the hospital for treatment may not be eligible for this aggressive treatment plan. They may also decide they don’t want that kind of treatment.
This study reports on two patients with diagnosed mesothelioma who did not receive any treatment. Despite this, they experienced an improvement in their condition.
The first patient was a 71-year-old man with stage II malignant pleural mesothelioma. He declined conventional treatment and chose to use alternative treatment.
The patient stopped smoking and participated in deep-breathing exercises and meditation. He also started taking small amounts of ayahuasca. This is a type of tea used by native people in the Amazon, and it may help to reduce inflammation. There is no evidence that Ayahuasca will treat cancer.
Six months after his diagnosis, a scan of the patient’s chest showed that the mesothelioma had almost entirely disappeared.
After three years, the patient developed mesothelioma again. This time, he received radiation therapy that provided positive results.
The second patient was a 79-year-old man with Parkinson’s disease and prostate cancer. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma after going to the hospital for a bad cough. He was scheduled to receive multimodal treatment. Before treatment began, a routine scan showed that the mesothelioma was shrinking on its own. The patient remained free of mesothelioma up to 8 months after his diagnosis.
What Does This Mean for Mesothelioma Treatment?
These cases of mesothelioma healing on its own are extremely rare. In these two cases, the study authors noted high levels of immune system activity. This might support the use of immunotherapy to treat mesothelioma. Immunotherapy helps the body to fight mesothelioma using its own immune system.
Nief CA, No HJ, Louie CY, Vitzthum L, Das M. Regression of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in Absence of Chemotherapy or Surgery: A Case Series [published online ahead of print, 2022 Oct 13]. Clin Lung Cancer. 2022;S1525-7304(22)00214-5. doi:10.1016/j.cllc.2022.10.002