Mesothelioma Research: Mesothelioma And Chemotherapy
Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer almost always caused by asbestos exposure.
This cancer, once diagnosed, is rapidly fatal in spite of current therapies.
A new study from the UK examined three different therapies with mesothelioma patients.
Researchers divided 409 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma into three groups in a highly controlled study with consent.
One group of patients received active symptom control which could include steroids, pain-killing drugs, bronchodilators, and radiation. A second group received the same symptom controls with the addition of chemotherapy. A third group received the same symptom controls with an injection of vinorelbine weekly for 12 weeks.
Average survival after diagnosis was 7.6 months for active symptom control only, 8.5 months for symptom control plus chemotherapy, and 9.5 months for symptom control plus vinorelbine. These differences were not statistically significant.
There were also no significant differences in quality of life as defined by activity levels, pain, breathing difficulty, or general health.
The authors conclude that chemotherapy did not offer significant improvement of mesothelioma regarding survival time or quality of life, but the addition of vinorelbine deserves further research (Muers MF, Active symptom control with or without chemotherapy in the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MS01): a multicentre randomised trial, Lancet, May 2008).
Mesothelioma Research: Increasing Survival With More Treatment Options
This is a rare malignant cancer with only one known cause--exposure to asbestos.
It is always fatal.
Also known as asbestos lung mesothelioma, asbestos fibers floating in the air are inhaled. The fibers travel to the lungs and then to the pleural lining of the lungs where they cause cancer. The development of this cancer can take up to several decades before it can be diagnosed.
Treatments currently include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
A new study examined survival rates with surgery and multimodal therapies.
Using data from 395 malignant pleural mesothelioma patients, researchers found that surgery plus multimodal therapy gave a 2-year survival rate of almost 30%. The sample size was too small to find significant differences among therapy procedures.
However, there was significant support for using platelet count, histology, degree of involvement of lung pleural cavity, and performance status as predictors of survival (Borasio P, European Journal Cardiothoracic Surgery, 2008).
Asbestos was used extensively during the last century, so people worldwide have been exposed to asbestos. Some countries are starting to regulate usage and exposure.
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