Extended pleurectomy decortication for malignant pleural mesothelioma in the elderly: the need for an inclusive yet selective approach

Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery 2017 November [Link]

Sharkey AJ, Bilancia R1, Tenconi S2, Nakas A1, Waller DA


The median age at diagnosis of patients with pleural mesothelioma in the UK is 73 years. Recent series have shown the feasibility of extended pleurectomy decortication in the elderly, but with continuing debate about the efficacy of this treatment, we reviewed our experience to identify more detailed selection criteria.
We reviewed prospectively collected data on all patients from 1999 to 2016 undergoing extended pleurectomy decortication. We compared clinical and pathological outcomes and survival data from patients 70 years and older (≥70 years) with those younger than 70 years (<70 years). RESULTS: Eighty-two of the 300 (27.3%) patients were ≥70 years of age at the time of surgery. More patients in the elderly group required intensive care postoperatively (6.2 vs 16.7%, P = 0.01) and developed atrial fibrillation (14.4 vs 24.4%, P = 0.05). There was no intergroup difference in length of hospital stay or in in-hospital, 30-day or 90-day mortality. Elderly patients were less likely to receive neoadjuvant (<70 years 21.2%, ≥70 years 11.0%; P = 0.045) or adjuvant chemotherapy (<70 years 45.4%, ≥70 years 29.3%; P = 0.04). Median overall survival was similar: <70 years 14.0 months, ≥70 years 10.3 months; P = 0.29. However, in node-positive patients, survival was poorer in the elderly (13.0 vs 9.1 months, P = 0.05), particularly in those with non-epithelioid tumours (3.8 vs 6.7 months, P = 0.04). On multivariable analysis, age was not a significant prognostic factor, although lack of adjuvant therapy (P = 0.001) and admission to the intensive care unit (P < 0.001) remained poor prognostic factors. CONCLUSIONS: Although age in isolation should not be an exclusion criterion for extended pleurectomy decortication for mesothelioma, in the elderly, a more rigorous preoperative evaluation of nodal disease and an additional assessment of fitness for adjuvant chemotherapy are recommended.