Mesothelioma patients are twice as likely to survive for two years or longer if they are treated with a high dose of radiation on the affected side of the trunk, according to a study presented at the conference ESTRO 38.
Mesothelioma is a & # 39 is a rare but aggressive form of cancer that grows in the layers of the tissues surrounding the lungs. This is usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Patients usually live for only a year or two following diagnosis and treatment options are very limited.
The study looked at patients whose cancer can not be completely removed surgically, and the researchers say that their findings have the potential to change the treatment and outcomes for this group of patients.
The study was led by Dr. Mark Trovo MD, chief of the Division of Radiation Oncology at the University Hospital in Udine, Italy. He said: "There is an urgent need for more effective methods of treatment of mesothelioma surgery can be given to these patients, but it is often not possible to remove the entire tumor ..
"Patients with mesothelioma are sometimes given radiation therapy to help control their symptoms. However, radiation therapy has evolved considerably over the last few years, so we would like to see that now it can be used to prevent cancer spread to nearby tissues, hopefully resulting in an improvement in survival. "
The study involved 108 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma treated at the National Institute of Cancer Aviano, Italy, between 2014 and 2018. All received surgery to remove some of the tissue of the tumor, followed by chemotherapy.
Half were randomly assigned to receive a radical hemi-thoracic radiation therapy, meaning radiation was delivered to the left or right side of the body which, depending on where the tumor is located. This included 25 treatments delivering a total dose of 50 Gy to the left or right side of the trunk, as well as additional dose of 60 Gy to the exact placement of the tumor. Other patients have received more than the typical form of palliative radiation therapy. This included five to ten processing delivering a total dose of 20-30 Gy precise placement of the tumor.
Among the patients who received aggressive treatment of radiation therapy, 58% were still alive after two years. Patients treated with palliative radiation therapy, 28% were still alive after two years.
About 20% of patients receiving radical hemi-thoracic radiotherapy suffered radiation pneumonia (lung inflammation). Other side effects included fatigue, nausea and mild inflammation of the esophagus.
Dr. Trovo said: "This study shows the clear benefits in survival with the use of this type of radiation therapy for mesothelioma patients whose tumor can only be partially removed surgically We believe that this should be considered as a new standard of care for these patients .."
He hopes that more gains in survival can be done by treating patients with radiation therapy followed by targeted immunotherapy (where the body's own immune system is recommended to fight cancer cells).
Professor Umberto Ricardi, President of ESTRO and Head of the Department of Oncology at the University of Turin, Italy, who was not involved in the study, said: "This is a very positive result, which brings good news for patients with this rare and hard -to-cancer treatment. to ensure that these patients benefit from this type of treatment, it is important that they are referred to a specialist cancer center with the right experience and equipment to carefully plan and implement the most effective treatment for radiation therapy, as well as manage any side effects occurring. "
materials provided European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO). Note: The contents may be edited for style and length.