From the blog

Delayed Care for Mesothelioma Could be Beneficial for Patients

Published: May 10, 2024

Mesothelioma, a cancer mainly caused by asbestos, is very hard to treat. A new study wanted to see if treating mesothelioma immediately is the best option for certain patients. The study, which was published in Clinical Lung Cancer, looks at patients with inoperable pleural mesothelioma. The study compared patients who received treatment immediately versus those who chose to wait before starting therapy.

The main treatment for inoperable mesothelioma is usually platinum based chemotherapy. There are newer treatments though like immunotherapy which are changing how people with mesothelioma are treated. Instead of going straight into treatment, it was suggested that patients undergo expectant observation before starting systemic treatment. Analysis looked at how well this approach to treating mesothelioma works in real world settings. To complete the study, data was examined from patients with inoperable mesothelioma. The patients were divided into two groups. The first group received immediate systemic treatment while the other was observed and received delayed therapy.

There were 222 patients analyzed. Eighty-five percent of the patients were treated right away while 15 percent delayed therapy. The group that was delayed had multiple shared characteristics including older age, less severe disease, and most had epithelioid histology. It was found that delaying treatment did not harm overall survival or progression-free survival. Both groups had similar overall survival. This could mean that watching patients carefully and treating later could be a good option for some mesothelioma patients, especially those that are in good overall health besides the mesothelioma.

The information from this study is important for the treatment of mesothelioma patients. Deciding on a treatment regimen should be based on a patient’s condition. It might be necessary to closely monitor a patient before giving them a treatment. Some patients might benefit from delaying treatment either for quality of life or medical reasons. Doctors should speak with their patients to find the best available treatment regimen and best available time to start treatment. Patients also need to have a say in how they are treated, even if it is just deciding to slightly delay treatment. More research is needed to figure out what the best time is to start treatment. If more studies are done, researchers could confirm the findings of this study and new guidelines could be created for treating mesothelioma.

This study showcases the importance of starting treatment times. In certain cases, patients could benefit from delaying treatment. It is up to doctors to give the best care possible and in some cases, the best care might be to delay care. Including patients in decision making could even create better outcomes. Like all studies, more research is needed to confirm findings.

Sabine Schmid et al., “Immediate versus deferred systemic therapy in patients with mesothelioma” Clinical Lung Cancer (April 20, 2024). [Link]
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