Chemotherapy is one of three commonly used treatments for mesothelioma.
Typically used in conjunction with debulking surgery and/or radiation therapy, chemotherapy can increase the likelihood that all cancerous cells have been destroyed. This approach has been found to maximize a patient’s prognosis.
Chemotherapeutic agents can be delivered via a pill, injection, catheter or topical application. Malignant mesothelioma patients whose chemotherapy routine includes both cisplatin and pemetrexed typically have a better survival rate than patients taking one single medication.
A recent Australian study reviewed a multi-institutional registry and found 405 peritoneal mesothelioma patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic chemotherapy. The study population was comprised of patients from eight separate institutions. The researchers then contacted the individuals and conducted follow-up interviews with 401 surviving patients.
Of the interviewees, the overall median survival rate was 53 months. This rate was far higher than the average malignant mesothelioma prognosis, which is approximately a year after diagnosis.
In addition to extended average survival rates, the chemotherapy and surgery combination was also found to increase the number of patients who reached three and five-year survival rates. Within the study, 60 and 47 percent of participants were alive three and five years after treatment, respectively.
Approximately 92 percent of the interviewees had received hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. Cisplatin, doxorubicin and paclitaxel were the three most commonly administered chemotherapeutic agents. The mean length of hospital stay after treatment was 22 days.
After considering the cases of the participants, researchers determined that four prognostic factors affected a peritoneal mesothelioma patient’s response to chemotherapy. Epithelial subtype, lack of cancerous lymph nodes, full cytoreductive surgery and completion of a hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy regimen were found to independently increase survival rates in the analysis.