Study Says Mesothelioma Surgery Success Related to Speed of Recurrence, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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Researchers at Stanford University say mesothelioma patients whose cancer returns less than a year after surgery are less likely to survive after a second surgery – even if their cancer is resectable.

The time to recurrence appears to be predictive of the expected survival...

A new study published in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and reported by Surviving Mesothelioma finds the length of time it takes for malignant pleural mesothelioma to start growing again after resection is directly related to their likelihood of success with a second surgery.

The study examined the medical records of 47 mesothelioma patients who underwent either pleurectomy/decortication surgery which removes the diseased pleural lining around the lungs and other membranes or extrapleural pneumonectomy which includes surgical removal of a lung, as well as the diseased membranes. Both types of surgery are used as a way to slow the progression of pleural mesothelioma, an aggressive asbestos-linked cancer that affects the lungs and lung lining.

The 47 patients in the Stanford study represented the 4.1% of 1,142 mesothelioma surgery patients whose recurrent cancer was determined to be removable. The median time it took for their mesothelioma to recur after their initial surgery was 16.1 months, but survival times after the second surgery ranged from just 2.7 months to more than 35 months.

Patients with epithelial mesothelioma had a median survival after their second surgery of 8.9 months in cases where their cancer recurred less than a year after the first surgery. But for epithelial mesothelioma patients whose cancer did not recur for at least two years after the first surgery, median survival was much greater at 35.8 months.

Patients with the less common biphasic type of mesothelioma showed similar results. Among biphasic patients, those whose cancer recurred in fewer than 10 months had a median survival after second surgery of just 2.7 months. In contrast, those whose mesothelioma did not recur for 10 months or more had a median survival after second surgery of 15.9 months.

“The time to recurrence appears to be predictive of the expected survival benefit in both epithelial and biphasic malignant pleural mesothelioma,” the authors conclude in the published report of their findings. While survival times vary, they say second surgery to remove recurrent mesothelioma tumors from the chest wall is a “safe and effective therapeutic option” for people with this aggressive malignancy.

The original study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. (Burt, BM, et al, “Clinical indications and results after chest wall resection for recurrent mesothelioma”, October 8, 2013, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Epub ahead of print,

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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