In a new study, researchers report the development of a statistical scoring model that may accurately predict long-term survival of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients after extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). The research paper, entitled “Prognostic Score of Long-Term Survival After Surgery for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Multicenter Analysis,” was published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.
Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the pleura, the membrane lining of the lungs, mainly attributed to the exposure to asbestos and other risks factors, including male sex, older age, and a smoking background. It is the most common form of mesothelioma cancers, accounting for about 75% of all mesothelioma cases with more than 2000 people diagnosed each year in the U.S according to the Pleural Mesothelioma Center. It is a very aggressive, difficult to treat disease due to its resistance to conventional therapies. Different combinations of therapies are used to treat these patients and there is still no consensus regarding which combination presents the best alternative for patients. Lead author Dr Giovanni Leuzzi, MD, from Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome, further explained in a press release, “The therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma is still somewhat controversial, and the optimal surgical approach is still a matter of debate. Our study found clinico-surgical factors that can indicate which patients will benefit the most from surgery so that patients and their physicians can better decide the optimal course of therapy.”
The research team studied clinical and personal data of 468 patients who had undergone EPP and observed that 107 of these patients survived at least 3 years after surgery, contrasting with the average 10 month survival for patients treated by EPP alone. Researchers found that long-term survival was associated with younger age, an epithelioid subtype of mesothelioma, low number of affected lymph nodes and no previous asbestos exposure.
Although further studies are encouraged to more certainly validate the statistical scoring model, it holds promise in being a helpful tool in the clinic for management of this disease that still holds such poor prognostic. Dr. Leuzzi further commented, “Based on these findings, we have built a scoring system by combining the above-mentioned factors. This easy-to-use model could help physicians in stratifying the treatment outcome and, eventually, tailoring postoperative treatment by identifying those patients who require close surveillance or more aggressive cancer therapy.”