Study: Experienced Hands Work Best with IMRT for Mesothelioma Patients

Research & Clinical Trials
Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 04/26/2012
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.
Reviewed

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us

Testimonials

"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Lashawn
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article

APA

Povtak, T. (2022, December 19). Study: Experienced Hands Work Best with IMRT for Mesothelioma Patients. Asbestos.com. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/04/26/duke-study-imrt-mesothelioma/

MLA

Povtak, Tim. "Study: Experienced Hands Work Best with IMRT for Mesothelioma Patients." Asbestos.com, 19 Dec 2022, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/04/26/duke-study-imrt-mesothelioma/.

Chicago

Povtak, Tim. "Study: Experienced Hands Work Best with IMRT for Mesothelioma Patients." Asbestos.com. Last modified December 19, 2022. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/04/26/duke-study-imrt-mesothelioma/.

This should come as no surprise, but experience can be invaluable.

For someone with mesothelioma, it could mean extending life.

Just because a facility has the latest radiotherapy technology doesn’t mean they can make the best use of it. There is the human element that makes it work at the optimal level.

According to one study done by the radiation oncology researchers at the Duke University Medical Center, patients who were treated by radiologists with more experience had better success rates.

The details of the study were published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics.

Researchers reviewed the records of 30 mesothelioma patients who underwent Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) following an extrapleural pneumonectomy, a radical surgical procedure that removes a lung, the lining around it, and at least part of the diaphragm.

IMRT is designed to direct radiation specifically to kill remaining tumors and reduce the risk of damage to the healthy tissues that surround them.

The study also found that the more experience the radiologists had, the less damage was done to the healthy tissue and nearby organs with the radiation.

“Increasing experience planning malignant pleural mesothelioma cases was associated with improved coverage of planning target volumes,” reported the researchers.

The value of experience should not have been too surprising, particularly with mesothelioma, a rare cancer that hits only 2,000-3,000 patients annually in the United States. The rarity is what makes it so imperative in finding experienced doctors to treat it. There are few.

Mesothelioma, which is almost always caused by an exposure to asbestos, often goes misdiagnosed until late stages because the early symptoms often mirror those of less serious illnesses.

The study was based on patients who had the IMRT from 2005 to 2010. The median survival was 23.2 months.

The two-year local control of the cancer was 47 percent and the two-year disease-free survival was 34 percent.

In the first 15 patients that were studied, four developed lung toxicity from the radiation, but none of the final 15 did when the radiologists were more experienced with the IMRT.

The study comes on the heels of findings from Australia which found certain high-dose hemithoracic radiation treatments were increasing survival rates significantly.

While the Duke study concluded that experience was vital to success, it also made clear that there were no guarantees with radiation therapy, which still has its flaws in fighting mesothelioma.

“With increasing experience, target volume coverage improved and dose to the contralateral lung decreased,” said the authors in the conclusion. “Rates of pulmonary toxicity were relatively low. However, both local and distant control rates remained suboptimal.”

Connect with a Mesothelioma Doctor
Find a Top Specialist Near You