In a new study, researchers analyzed the mesothelioma patient cases present in the large SEER database to study the effect of prognosis factors, especially the type of therapy chosen, in survival outcomes to determine that multimodal surgery might be the best option. The paper, titled “Determinants of Survival in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Study of 14,228 Patients,” was published in PLOS ONE.
Mesothelioma is a form of rare but deadly cancer whose incidence has grown in the last decades, mainly due to past exposure to asbestos, one of its main risk factors. Diagnosis of mesothelioma usually occurs in an advance stage of the disease. Major efforts have been made to discover effective therapy strategies to effectively treat the disease and extend patients’ survival time, such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and different combinations of these treatments. Despite these many studies, however, no decisive agreement regarding the best course of treatment has been reached.
In order to investigate the effect of treatment choices and personal patient characteristics in the survival prognosis, researchers looked at the information on tumor characteristics by diagnosis, type of therapy, and outcomes available in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database.
The researchers explored data from 1973 to 2009 and identified 14,228 patients with diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Age, sex, race, year of diagnosis, histology stage, cancer-directed surgery, radiation, and vital status were analyzed and, through statistical analyses, researchers looked into possible correlations between these characteristics and survival outcomes. Results showed that, in comparison with no treatment, surgery as a monotherapy was associated with significant improvement in survival rates. Radiotherapy alone did not have the same result, and a combination of surgery and radiation had similar survival as surgery alone. Furthermore, results proved similar when cases diagnosed between 1973 and 1999 were compared to cases diagnosed between 2000 and 2009.
Researchers conclude in their final remarks that, “Cancer-directed surgery is independently associated with better survival, suggesting that multimodal surgery-based therapy can benefit these patients. Further research in adjuvant treatment is necessary to improve prognosis in this challenging disease.”