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Mesothelioma Survival Factors Revealed by New Study

mesothelioma survival factorsNew research from the University of Pittsburgh reveals six primary mesothelioma survival factors. These characteristics appear to separate those who die of mesothelioma within just a few months from those who live much longer.

The research focused on 888 cases of pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma listed in a national database. Patients received their mesothelioma diagnosis between 1990 and 2017.

The study shows that most mesothelioma survival factors are out of patients’ control.

Calculating Mesothelioma Survival Factors

Not many people survive mesothelioma long term. It is one of the most aggressive and hard-to-treat types of cancer. By the time mesothelioma patients develop their first symptoms, the asbestos cancer is usually already at an advanced stage.

Deciding the best way to treat an individual case of mesothelioma is major challenge for oncologists. Some mesothelioma treatments work for some patients and not for others. Many current research studies focus on ways to select a mesothelioma therapy.

Knowing more about the mesothelioma survival factors could help doctors and patients make better treatment decisions based on prognosis.

The Six Mesothelioma Survival Factors

According to the study published in the online peer-reviewed platform F1000 Research, people with one or more of these six mesothelioma survival factors lived the longest:

  • Younger than 45
  • Female gender
  • Epithelioid subtype
  • Stage 1 disease
  • Peritoneal location
  • Treatment with chemotherapy and surgery

Patient data came from the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank.

The average survival of all the mesothelioma patients studied was 15 months. But the mesothelioma survival rate among people with peritoneal mesothelioma was more than twice that of people with the pleural variety (31 months versus 14 months).

Treatment with surgery and chemotherapy was associated with improved survival of 23 months.

“Our findings show that combined surgical and chemotherapy treatment in peritoneal mesothelioma is associated with improved survival compared to local therapy alone,” writes lead study author Waqas Amin.

Improving the Odds of Surviving Mesothelioma

The authors of the new study point out that overall survival rates for malignant mesothelioma have not improved for many years, in spite of more advanced treatments.

Most of the factors in this study are out of patients’ control. But, in some cases, ongoing research and knowledge of symptoms could improve the odds of surviving mesothelioma.

If more cases of mesothelioma were diagnosed at Stage 1, for instance, survival could improve. Patients who know they have been exposed to asbestos should be aware of mesothelioma symptoms and get regular checkups.


Amin, W, et al, “Factors influencing malignant mesothelioma survival: a retrospective review of the National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank cohort”, March 2019, https://f1000research.com/articles/7-1184/v2

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