European Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery. 2005 Dec 9; [Epub ahead of print] [Link]
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, IL, USA.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a solid, locally aggressive tumor, which has been closely linked to asbestos exposure. The survival rate without treatment ranges from 4 to 12 months. Response to chemotherapy and radiation is poor, and surgery is the most effective therapy. There are currently 3000 new MPM cases per year in the United States, with the peak incidence in the United States and Europe expected to occur in the year 2020. The prognosis depends on the stage of the tumor at the time of diagnosis, its histological type, lymph node status, and resection margins. While the diagnosis is often delayed, earlier intervention may improve life expectancy. Single-modality therapy has not been effective in changing the natural history of MPM. As a result, multimodality regimens involving surgery with radiation, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy have been initiated. Multiple modality approach has demonstrated favorable outcome, particularly in patients with epithelial histology, negative resection margins and presence of no metastases to extrapleural lymph nodes. Cisplatin and mitomycin have demonstrated modest efficacy in management of distant tumor recurrence. Cisplatin and gemcitabine regimen as well as cisplatin/pemetrexed followed by 54Gy of adjuvant hemithorax radiation have been reported to improve the outcome.