Baylor Study: Mesothelioma ‘Staged Surgical Approach’ Increases Survival

Research & Clinical Trials

Written by Tim Povtak

Reading Time: 4 mins
Publication Date: 01/04/2023
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 is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at 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

  • 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


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.
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite’s Article


Povtak, T. (2023, March 13). Baylor Study: Mesothelioma ‘Staged Surgical Approach’ Increases Survival. Retrieved May 31, 2023, from


Povtak, Tim. "Baylor Study: Mesothelioma ‘Staged Surgical Approach’ Increases Survival.", 13 Mar 2023,


Povtak, Tim. "Baylor Study: Mesothelioma ‘Staged Surgical Approach’ Increases Survival." Last modified March 13, 2023.

Select patients diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer in both the thoracic and abdominal cavities still can achieve an extended survival if their treatment center performs the preferred types of aggressive surgery, according to a recent study at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Patients undergoing bicavitary cytoreductive surgery that includes the lung-sparing, extended pleurectomy and decortication had a median survival of 58.2 months, the study found. The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery published the results online in December.

“Long-term survival can be achieved with an aggressive, staged surgical approach,” study authors wrote. “For patients with localized disease that is amenable to multimodality therapy with resection, prolonged survival can be achieved.”

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It typically comes with a poor prognosis and is rarely diagnosed in both the chest and the abdomen.

Aggressive mesothelioma surgery in one cavity can be overwhelming, and having two back-to-back surgeries is almost unheard of outside of select mesothelioma specialty centers such as Baylor.

“Reports of bicavitary CRS [cytoreductive surgery] are limited,” the authors wrote. “Our series is the only non-case report of patients who underwent staged resection of chest and abdominal mesothelioma.”

Mesothelioma Surgeries Produced Different Results 

From 2014 to 2021, 440 patients with mesothelioma were evaluated at Baylor College of Medicine. Only 14 of those (3%) underwent the two-stage chest and then abdominal operations. Of the 14 bicavitary patients, eight underwent the extended pleurectomy decortication and six had the extrapleural pneumonectomy.

For the abdominal surgery that followed, all 14 underwent a standard peritonectomy and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, another specialty procedure known as HIPEC.

Six of the patients received chemotherapy between the two operations and five received adjuvant chemotherapy after each operation.

Median overall survival, for the entire cohort, was 33.6 months, with a five-year survival rate of 20%. 

The objective of the retrospective study was to determine whether the latest extended pleurectomy decortication surgery or the older, lung-sacrificing extrapleural pneumonectomy was more effective as part of bicavitary resection. The results were not even close.

From the date of the second surgery, median overall survival was only 13.5 months for those undergoing the EPP, but 58.2 months for those having the extended P/D. The median progression-free survival was 12.9 months vs. 26.3 months for EPP and ePD groups, respectively, following the first surgery.

Dr. David Sugarbaker Pioneered EPP Surgery

Results of the study are one reason Baylor – like many specialty centers treating mesothelioma –has moved away from the once-groundbreaking EPP surgery that was made popular by the heralded thoracic surgeon and mesothelioma specialist Dr. David Sugarbaker.

Sugarbaker, who became known as Mr. Mesothelioma during his more than two decades at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, came to Baylor Medical Center in 2014 as director of The Lung Institute. He died in 2018.

“The choice of operative procedure reflects a shift from EPP to ePD in our institution that is similar to many mesothelioma centers,” authors wrote. “EPD is now our standard approach for the majority of patients.”

Earlier studies involving only pleural mesothelioma in the thoracic cavity had shown similar survival times when comparing the two surgeries, but a quicker recovery and a lower morbidity rate with the ePD.

In this study, there were no immediate deaths following the first surgery, and all 14 patients proceeded to the second surgery. There were two patients – both starting with the EPP – who died within 90 days of the abdominal surgery.

“When considering bicavitary cytoreductive surgery for mesothelioma, we would recommend only performing ePD and avoiding EPP in this cohort of patients,” authors concluded.

Baylor Medical Center thoracic surgeon Dr. R. Taylor Ripley was the lead author of the study. One of the co-authors was surgical oncologist Dr. Paul Sugarbaker, brother of Dr. David Sugarbaker and a pioneer in advancing treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma. He last served at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

blue medical health symbol
Connect with a Mesothelioma Doctor
Find a Top Specialist Near You