Mesothelioma Study: Targeted Radiation after Lung Removal

We frequently post here about medical research into mesothelioma treatment. For example, in December we shared information about a new treatment study at Baylor in which doctors will try direct application of two heated, combined chemotherapy drugs on mesothelioma tumors in the chest cavity through surgery.

New Japanese Study

This week, we will share news about a Japanese research study of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients who received intense, specifically directed radiation treatment called IMRT, or intensity modulated radiotherapy, to mesothelioma tumor sites after having had their cancerous lungs removed in a procedure called extrapleural pneumonectomy or EPP.

EPP is a very serious operation in and of itself, but doctors may use it to try to stem the progression of the fatal disease, in which asbestos-related cancer develops in the pleura or lining around the lungs. The hope in any treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma is to try to prolong meaningful life for the patient.

The study, published in a Swedish scientific journal, concluded that the treatment “achieved excellent local control for MPM, that might lead to the long-term survival in selected patients.” Researchers found the prevention of local recurrence of the cancer an improvement as compared with earlier attempts at similar treatment.

Promising Results, with Caveats

Despite this optimism, researchers warned that the potential for serious side effects should be considered because the radiation could cause immediate and later toxicity symptoms. Other surrounding organs are also potentially at risk of harm from the radiation, but the report says that improved IMRP techniques hold promise in this regard.

Most patients studied later developed cancer in remote locations from the treatment site, leading the researchers to recommend that the treatment be limited to patients who were at “low risk of distant metastasis.”

We will continue to bring attention to mesothelioma research for our clients.