Management and Survival of Pleural Mesothelioma: A Record Linkage Study

Respiration, International Review of Thoracic Diseases 2018 February 8 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Carioli G, Bonifazi M, Rossi M, Zambelli A, Franchi M, Zocchetti C, Gasparini S, Corrao G, La Vecchia C, Negri E


Pleural mesothelioma (PM) is a rare, highly lethal tumor. A definite consensus on its management has yet to be established.

To assess management, overall survival (OS), and their predictors in a cohort of patients from Lombardy, the largest Italian region (about 10 million inhabitants).

Through a record linkage between Lombardy health care administrative databases, we identified patients diagnosed with PM in 2006-2011 without history of cancer, evaluating their management. OS from PM diagnosis was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Predictors of OS and of treatment were assessed using Cox regression models with time-dependent covariates when appropriate.

Out of 1,326 patients, 754 (56.9%) received treatment for PM: 205 (15.5%) underwent surgery, and 696 (52.5%) used chemotherapy. Surgery was spread across several hospitals, and most patients diagnosed in nonspecialized centers (70%) underwent surgery in the same centers. Age at diagnosis was a strong inverse determinant of surgery. Determinants of receiving chemotherapy were younger age, a more recent first diagnosis, and first diagnosis in a specialized center. OS was 45.4% at 1 year, 24.8% at 2 years, and 9.6% at 5 years (median 11 months). OS decreased with age, and was higher for those who underwent surgery, but not for those treated with chemotherapy.

Management of PM varied widely in clinical practice, and significant predictors of treatment were younger age and recent diagnosis, though a high proportion of patients were not treated. Patients were treated in various hospitals, indicating the importance of concentrating serious rare neoplasms in Comprehensive Cancer Centers (as recognized by the Italian Health Ministry).