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Mesothelioma Treatment Roadmap: Connecting Chemotherapy Response and Surgical Outcomes

Mesothelioma Treatment Roadmap: Connecting Chemotherapy Response and Surgical Outcomes

Mesothelioma patients who do not respond well to chemotherapy before surgery are likely to have poor outcomes after the procedure.

This is the finding of a group of researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

How Chemotherapy Response Shapes Mesothelioma Surgery Outcomes

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is hard to diagnose and treat. It develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the body’s internal organs. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to a toxic mineral called asbestos.

In most cases, doctors will use more than one type of treatment to remove as many cancer cells as possible from a patient’s body. The standard therapies include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Of all the standard therapies, surgery is considered the most effective option. Most surgeries for mesothelioma are complex and invasive. Doctors look at many different factors when they decide which patients are good candidates for surgery. They look at things like the patient’s condition, how their cancer behaves, and how the patient responds to treatment.

The Role of Pre-Surgery Chemotherapy Response

The researchers in this study wanted to find out if there were other factors that doctors could consider when deciding which patients will respond well to a surgical procedure. They wanted to know if the patient’s response to chemotherapy before surgery could predict outcomes after surgery.

The researchers looked at information from 99 patients with mesothelioma who had a surgical procedure called macroscopic complete resection. In this procedure, the surgeon removes all visible tumor tissue from the body. The goal is to get rid of as much of the tumor as possible to improve the patient’s prognosis and chances of recovery.

The patient data showed that patients who responded poorly to the chemotherapy treatment before the surgery had a lower survival rate. On average, they lived for almost 16 months after treatment. Patients who responded well to chemotherapy before surgery survived for 38 months after treatment.

This information can help doctors talk to patients about their options for treatment and what might be best for their survival and quality of life.


Deboever N, Zhou N, McGrail DJ, et al. Radiographic response to neoadjuvant therapy in pleural mesothelioma should serve as a guide for patient selection for cytoreductive operations. Front Oncol. 2023;13:1216999. Published 2023 Aug 11. doi:10.3389/fonc.2023.1216999. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10455934/

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