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Curated Journal Articles on Mesothelioma

Radical multimodality therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma

The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018 January 8 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Abdel-Rahman O, Elsayed Z, Mohamed H, Eltobgy M

Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an almost always fatal tumour, for which palliative platinum-based chemotherapy is currently the standard treatment. Multimodal therapeutic strategies incorporating surgery, radiation therapy or photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy have been recommended for selected patients but there is no consensus about their effectiveness.

OBJECTIVES:
To assess the benefits and harms of radical multimodal treatment options (including radical surgery ± radical radiotherapy ± photodynamic therapy ± systemic therapy) compared to each other or to palliative treatments, for people with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

SEARCH METHODS:
We reviewed data from the Cochrane Lung Cancer group’s Specialised Register, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE and Embase. We also checked reference lists of primary original studies, review articles and relevant conference proceedings manually for further related articles up to 21 March 2017.

SELECTION CRITERIA:
We included parallel-group randomised controlled trials of multimodal therapy for people with malignant pleural mesothelioma (stages I, II or III) that measured at least one of the following endpoints: overall survival, health-related health-related quality of life, adverse events or progression-free survival. We considered studies regardless of language or publication status.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS:
Two review authors independently extracted relevant information on participant characteristics, interventions, study outcomes, and data on the outcomes for this review, as well as information on the design and methodology of the studies. Two review authors assessed the risk of bias in the included trials using pre-defined ‘Risk of bias’ domains. We assessed the methodological quality using GRADE.

MAIN RESULTS:
We conducted this review in accordance with the published Cochrane protocol. Two randomised clinical trials with 104 participants fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Both trials were at high risk of bias (for outcomes other than overall survival), and we rated the evidence as moderate quality for overall survival and low quality for all other outcomes. One trial compared combined extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) plus neoadjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy plus postoperative high-dose hemithoracic radiotherapy with combined EPP plus platinum-based chemotherapy. The other trial compared EPP plus postoperative hemithoracic radiotherapy with standard (non-radical) therapy alone following platinum-based chemotherapy (patients in the standard therapy arm received continued oncological management according to local policy, which could include further chemotherapy or palliative radiotherapy).For the first trial, median overall survival calculated from registration was 20.8 months (95% confidence interval (CI) 14.4 to 27.8) in the no-radiotherapy group and 19.3 months (95% CI 11.5 to 21.8) in the radiotherapy group. For the second trial, median overall survival was 14.4 months (95% CI 5.3 to 18.7) for patients allocated to EPP and 19.5 months (95% CI 13.4 to time not yet reached) for patients randomised to standard non-radical therapy. In the second trial, 12 serious adverse events were reported during the study period: ten in the EPP group and two in the non-radical therapy group. Overall health-related quality of life scores were not different between the two arms in either study. We could not perform a meta-analysis of the two included trials due to clinical heterogeneity. We also identified three ongoing trials evaluating the topic of our review.

AUTHORS’ CONCLUSIONS:
The overall strength of the evidence gathered in this review is low and there is a lack of available evidence to support the use of radical multimodality therapy in routine clinical practice (particularly as one trial suggests greater harm). Given the added cost of multimodality treatment and the possible increase in risk of adverse effects, the lack of evidence of their effectiveness probably means that these interventions should currently be limited to clinical trials alone.

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