From the blog

Sarcopenia in Relation to Overall Survival in Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Published: August 30, 2018

Peritoneal mesothelioma only affects about 500 people each year, but its aggressive nature makes it hard to treat successfully and many who are diagnosed will on average survive only 6 to 12 months. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the abdominal lining, or peritoneum, which is why it is sometimes referred to as abdominal mesothelioma. Asbestos is the only known cause of peritoneal mesothelioma, although there is no definitive explanation as to how. Asbestos fibers may be ingested and work themselves into the peritoneal cavity and peritoneum, or they may be inhaled and transported to the peritoneal cavity through the lymph nodes.

Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms may not appear until 20 to 30 years after initial exposure, and may mimic less serious medical issues. Determining overall survival in the initial diagnosis sets the patient on a certain path for treatment. To aid in the correct course, a recent study published in the European Journal of Surgical Oncology found a connection between muscle loss and survival rates among those suffering from this disease.

Sarcopenia is muscle loss that happens naturally over time and increases  in severity with age. Those who have been more physically active in their lifetime will experience sarcopenia at a slower rate.  The latest research from the Lyon-Sud Hospital Center in France notes a connection between sarcopenia and survival rates among peritoneal mesothelioma patients after cytoreducticve surgery (CRS).

The study focused on patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma who underwent CRS-hyperthermic  intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPC), which is type of therapy in which anti-cancer drugs are heated and directly applied to the abdominal cavity for short periods of time. The chemotherapy treatment is highly concentrated is typically used on advanced malignancies, like peritoneal mesothelioma.  Thirty-three peritoneal mesothelioma patients participated in this study and after CRS-HIPC, each patient was examined by CT scan to measure their muscle mass and fatty tissue located around the third lumbar. Results from the CT scan showed that patients who had experienced less sarcopenia, survived on average 18 months longer than those who were experiencing the loss of muscle tissue.

While these results do not indicate morbidity, they may contribute to better predictability on overall survival once a patient is diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. Patients physically able to handle treatment that typically have a longer life-span will ultimately be able to receive more treatment which will in turn increase prolong survival.



Galan, “Overall survival of pseudomyxoma peritonei and peritoneal mesothelioma patients after cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy can be predicted by computed tomography quantified sarcopenia,” European Journal of Surgical Oncology (August 11, 2018). [Link]

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