Another interesting study is called, "The role of extrapleural pneumonectomy in malignant pleural mesothelioma. A Lung Cancer Study Group trial" by VW Rusch, S Piantadosi and EC Holmes - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, N.Y. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Vol 102, 1-9 – Here is an excerpt: "Malignant pleural mesothelioma is usually a fatal cancer for which operation has been the mainstay of treatment because chemotherapy and radiation are relatively ineffective. The choice of operation for malignant pleural mesothelioma remains controversial. Extrapleural pneumonectomy has been advocated because it allows complete removal of gross tumor and can be associated with long-term survival. To evaluate extrapleural pneumonectomy, we conducted a prospective multiinstitutional trial in patients with biopsy-proved previously untreated malignant pleural mesothelioma. Criteria for extrapleural pneumonectomy were (1) potentially completely resectable unilateral disease by computed tomography scan, (2) predicted postresection forced expiratory volume in 1 second greater than 1 L/sec, and (3) no other major medical problems. Patients who were not candidates for extrapleural pneumonectomy had a more limited operation with or without adjuvant therapy or had nonsurgical treatment. From September 1985 to June 1988 83 eligible patients (64 male, 19 female) were entered. The mean age for all patients was 59.7 years. Only 20 of the 83 patients (24%) underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy. Three of these 20 patients (15%) died postoperatively. The recurrence-free survival was significantly longer for the patients undergoing extrapleural pneumonectomy than for the other two groups (p = 0.03), but there was no difference in overall survival among the three groups. In univariate analyses, epithelial versus sarcomatoid and mixed histologic findings and platelet count less than 400,000 were associated with a better overall survival (p = 0.02), and performance status (Karnofsky less than 80) was predictive of recurrence (p = 0.02). In a multivariate analysis, histologic findings, sex, age, extrapleural pneumonectomy, weight loss, and performance status all had no significant impact on survival. Extrapleural pneumonectomy was associated with a greater likelihood of relapse in distant sites than were limited operation and nonsurgical treatment. We conclude that (1) only a small proportion of all patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma are candidates for extrapleural pneumonectomy, (2) extrapleural pneumonectomy carries a significant operative mortality and does not seem to improve overall survival compared with more conservative forms of treatment, (3) extrapleural pneumonectomy alters the patterns of relapse, and (4) factors previously thought to have an impact on survival in other series did not affect outcome in this trial."
Another interesting study is called, "A phase II trial of surgical resection and adjuvant high-dose hemithoracic radiation for malignant pleural Mesothelioma" by Valerie W. Rusch, MD, Kenneth Rosenzweig, MD, Ennapadam Venkatraman, PhD, Larry Leon, MS, Adam Raben, MD, Louis Harrison, MD, Manjit S. Bains, MD, Robert J. Downey, MD, Robert J. Ginsberg, MD - J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2001;122:788-795 From the Thoracic Service, Department of Surgery,a the Department of Radiation Oncology,b and the Biostatistics Service, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics,c Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY.?? Here is an excerpt: "Background: Surgical resection of malignant pleural mesothelioma is reported to have up to an 80% rate of local recurrence. We performed a phase II trial of high-dose hemithoracic radiation after complete resection to determine feasibility and to estimate rates of local recurrence and survival.?? Methods: Patients were eligible if they had a resectable tumor, as determined by computed tomographic scanning, and adequate cardiopulmonary function for extrapleural pneumonectomy or pleurectomy/decortication. After complete resection, patients received hemithoracic radiation (54 Gy) and then were followed up with serial computed tomographic scanning.?? Results: From 1995 to 1998, 88 patients (73 men and 15 women; median age, 62.5 years) were entered into the study. The operations performed included 62 extrapleural pneumonectomies (70%) and 5 leurectomies/decortications; procedures for exploration only were performed in 21 patients. Seven (7.9%) patients died postoperatively. Adjuvant radiation administered to 57 patients (54 undergoing extrapleural pneumonectomy and 3 undergoing pleurectomy/decortication) at a median dose of 54 Gy was well tolerated (grade 0-2 fatigue, esophagitis), except for one late esophageal fistula. The median survival was 33.8 months for stage I and II tumors but only 10 months for stage III and IV tumors (P = .04). For the patients undergoing extrapleural pneumonectomy, the sites of recurrence were locoregional in 2, locoregional and distant in 5, and distant only in 30.?? Conclusion: Hemithoracic radiation after complete surgical resection at a dose not previously reported is feasible. This approach dramatically reduces local recurrence and is associated with prolonged survival for early-stage tumors. Stage III disease has a high risk of early distant relapse and should be considered for trials of systemic therapy added to this regimen of resection and radiation."
We all owe a debt of gratitude to these fine researchers.?? If you found any of these excerpts interesting, please read the studies in their entirety.