Diagnosis and Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
Archivos de Bronconeumologia. 2014 July 21. [Epub ahead of print] [Link]
Rodriguez Panadero F
There are three major challenges in the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma: mesothelioma must be distinguished from benign mesothelial hyperplasia; malignant mesothelioma (and its subtypes) must be distinguished from metastatic carcinoma; and invasion of structures adjacent to the pleura must be demonstrated. The basis for clarifying the first two aspects is determination of a panel of monoclonal antibodies with appropriate immunohistochemical evaluation performed by highly qualified experts. Clarification of the third aspect requires sufficiently abundant, deep biopsy material, for which thoracoscopy is the technique of choice. Video-assisted needle biopsy with real-time imaging can be of great assistance when there is diffuse nodal thickening and scant or absent effusion. Given the difficulties of reaching an early diagnosis, cure is not generally achieved with radical surgery (pleuropneumonectomy), so liberation of the tumor mass with pleurectomy/decortication combined with chemo- or radiation therapy (multimodal treatment) has been gaining followers in recent years. In cases in which surgery is not feasible, chemotherapy (a combination of pemetrexed and platinum-derived compounds, in most cases) with pleurodesis or a tunneled pleural drainage catheter, if control of pleural effusion is required, can be considered. Radiation therapy is reserved for treatment of pain associated with infiltration of the chest wall or any other neighboring structure. In any case, comprehensive support treatment for pain control in specialist units is essential: this acquires particular significance in this type of malignancy.