From the blog

Tri-Modality Therapy Triples Survival Compared to Chemotherapy and Surgery Alone

Published: May 21, 2021

A very aggressive mesothelioma treatment is proving to be more beneficial compared to just chemotherapy and surgery alone. The more aggressive therapy utilizes multiple techniques creating a more successful treatment in certain patients. Mesothelioma treatment needs to be aggressive because it is a tough to treat and aggressive cancer. People diagnosed typically only live a year past their diagnosis. The typical treatment for mesothelioma is chemotherapy and sometimes surgery, but these are not able to stop people from succumbing to their cancer. People who undergo the new tri-modality therapy triple their survival compared to typical mesothelioma treatments.

Mesothelioma is a malignant cancer caused by asbestos exposure. People usually don’t know they were exposed to asbestos or that they have mesothelioma until many years later. Once people find out they have the cancer, it is usually too hard to treat. The main treatment for mesothelioma is pemetrexed, which was first approved for mesothelioma in 2004. Tri-modality treatment is different because it combines the traditional chemotherapy with surgery and follows up with radiation to kill remaining cancer cells. It can be hard for patients to decide which treatment path to take, but patients who undergo this treatment could increase their survival if they take the risk.

The study looked at patients at two different hospitals between the years 2009 and 2016. One hundred and six patients received tri-modality therapy in London consisting of chemotherapy, pleurectomy/decortication surgery, and prophylactic radiation while 98 patients received only chemotherapy in Quebec. The tri-modality therapy patients had a median survival of 32 months compared to 10 months for the only chemotherapy group. When the results were adjusted for age, gender, and cancer subtype, the tri-modality therapy was still the most successful type.

The researchers were able to conclude that the tri-modality therapy consisting of surgery, systemic chemotherapy, and prophylactic radiotherapy could have the ability to create a significant survival benefit in certain mesothelioma patients. Some patients might not be able to receive this treatment though and doctors would have to choose a different therapy.

Frédéric Larose et al., “Malignant pleural mesothelioma: Comparison of surgery-based trimodality therapy to medical therapy at two tertiary academic institutions” Lung Cancer (May 3, 2021). [Link]
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