Study: Risky Mesothelioma Treatment Improves Patient Quality of Life

Surgeons in the operating room

The little-researched treatment option of extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) provides more significant benefits on the quality of life in mesothelioma patients than previously thought, Italian researchers concluded.

EPP treatment involves the removal of the cancerous lung and surrounding tissue. Experts have considered it risky because it has resulted in heart attacks, kidney failure, fluid buildup or pulmonary embolisms.

Some sources cite a 60 percent complication rate being associated with the treatment. A recent study, however, shows significant improvement in quality of life and provides an additional vote of confidence for the EPP procedure.

In the study, more than two dozen patients were examined over the course of a decade. Results, they said, were encouraging. Researchers said that the improved standard of living from the procedure may merit the risk for some patients.

Results of the Study

Twenty-nine patients who underwent EPP were involved in the study, which occurred between 1997 and 2007. Results provided much hope for patients.

Of the 29, 17 patients were still alive at the one-year mark, while 10 were alive at the two-year mark. The median survival rate was 19.5 months, despite the normal mesothelioma survival rate average of being around 12 months. One person died as a direct result of surgery.

The study, published in Annals of Surgical Oncology, was conducted by researchers from the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Tor Vergata University in Rome, Italy. Before this research, the clinical benefits of EPP for patients were minimally investigated. Some hope that this newly-released research may shine light on this rare treatment option.

Researchers remain optimistic about potential that EPP holds, concluding that “Extrapleural pneumonectomy has a significant and durable impact on function and symptoms as well as on physical and mental components of quality of life in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.”

According to earlier studies, patients who have had their cancer detected in the earliest stages, before the cancer has spread, comprise of the best candidates for EPP. Patients with cases of epitheliod mesothelioma also demonstrate a better candidacy of the procedure.


Mark Hall joined the Mesothelioma Center as a writer in 2011. Prior to joining the content team, Mark graduated from the University of Florida and then spent several years writing about business, entrepreneurship and technology for various online publications.

Related News Posts

Discover Our Free Resources & Services

Learn What We Offer

Social Media

Top Authors

View our resources for patients and families

Get Help Today
Click for Free Patient Resources