Mesothelioma survival is a top priority for all of us involved with this merciless disease. Increasing mesothelioma survival through new better treatments and prolonging the lives of mesothelioma patients is a hope we will not relinquish. That’s why we report to you on new published studies with promising results.
An exciting new Canadian study found that treating mesothelioma with radiation before surgery resulted in a three-year survival rate – more than double the rate of treating with surgery first.
The study included 25 patients with mesothelioma who underwent five days of radiation therapy and had surgery to remove the affected lung the following week.
The findings published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology describe this method for treating mesothelioma patients as a way of possibly improving their quality of life and odds for increased mesothelioma survival. The principal investigator and lead author Dr. John Cho is a radiation oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center, University Health Network (UHN). Dr. Cho is also an Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Toronto.
“The patients in our study experienced shorter treatment, fewer complications and speedier recovery,” says Dr. Cho a press release published by the Princess Margaret Cancer Center. “The three-year survival rate more than doubled to 72% from 32%.”
The study evaluated a new approach called SMART – Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy – and was completed over four years with 25 patients who had radiation therapy at Princess Margaret Cancer Center and surgery at Toronto General Hospital.
“It was imperative to do the surgery quickly because the lung is particularly sensitive to radiation toxicity,” commented thoracic surgeon Dr. Marc de Perrot, a study co-author.
He said the SMART approach significantly reduced the treatment cycle for patients to one month from five months. It also reduced the risk of recurrence because the radiation wiped out the cancer’s ability to seed itself elsewhere in the chest or abdomen during surgery. Dr. de Perrot is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto and involved in mesothelioma research.
“These research results offer real hope to mesothelioma patients,” said Dr. de Perrot.
Since completing the study, Drs. Cho and de Perrot have used the approach to successfully treat 20 more patients, according to the news release.
This new study echoes the results we recently reported of British surgeons who reviewed hundreds of mesothelioma patient records and found that chemotherapy before surgery increased mesothelioma survival.