High-Dose Radiotherapy Increases Survival Rate in Mesothelioma

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New clinical studies indicate that treatment with high doses of radiotherapy could greatly boost survival for patients with mesothelioma. New results from a clinical trial that was randomized show that patients who got aggressive radiotherapy were two times as likely to be alive after two years compared to patients who only got palliative radiotherapy; the overall survival at two years was 58% vs. 28%. (medscape.com)

However, researchers found that high dose treatments was associated with a higher level of toxicity. The new findings were given at the annual meeting of the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology that was held in Milan, Italy earlier this year.

The lead author, Marco Trovo, MD, stated that patients with mesothelioma are often given radiotherapy to help to keep their symptoms under control. But radiotherapy has evolved a lot in the last several years, so researchers wanted to see if could be used to prevent mesothelioma from spreading to other tissue, to hopefully increase survival rates.

Trovo added there is a strong need for more effective mesothelioma treatments. Surgery is an option for some of these patients, but because of the nature of the cancer in the lining of the organs, it is impossible to get all of the tumor out.

Previous studies of patients that had radiotherapy with mesothelioma had so so results. Nonrandomized studies have shown that radiotherapy, when it is given after chemotherapy and surgery, gives an added survival benefit for patients with pleural mesothelioma. But a randomized trial did not find any benefit. For patients who had treatment with chemotherapy and an extrapleural pneumonectomy and who got high dose radiotherapy, the survival rate was not any longer than for patients who did not get radiotherapy.

Another clinical trial showed that for mesothelioma patients who had resectable, malignant pleural mesothelioma who had hemithoracic intensity modulated radiotherapy before having extrapleural pneumonectomy, the survival rate was not improved.

Standard of car for MPM patients who cannot have radical surgery includes chemotherapy of a systemic nature. The history of the disease, according to the authors, is typically a locoregional progression of the cancer. Death usually occurs in 12 months or left if it is untreated.

Using radical hemithoracic irradiation with 3D conformal radiotherapy is limited because of the difficulty of irradiating a large volume target with high doses of radiation without exceeding tolerance of the adjacent tissues. This is particularly true of the ipsilateral intact lung.

In the latest current phase 3 randomized trial, Marco and his colleagues compared radical hemithoracic radiotherapy with palliative radiotherapy in MPM patients who had already had nonradical lung sparing surgery and chemotherapy.

About Mesothelioma

One of the most aggressive cancers is mesothelioma. It is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. It attacks the thin and delicate linings of the lungs. Usually, asbestos fibers, microscopic in size, are inhaled or ingested by a worker in an industrial setting. Mesothelioma usually is found in men above the age of 50 who worked for years with products that contained asbestos. The overall prognosis for people with mesothelioma is poor, but the therapy outlined above does provide some hope with people with several types of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma patients usually start to show signs of cancer up to 50 years after they first are exposed. The symptoms of the cancer patient can vary on the type of mesothelioma. It is possible for early symptoms to be easily mistaken for other illnesses, such as flu. It is important that mesothelioma signs be recognized as soon as possible for the prognosis to improve.

The best way to ensure this is to be examined by a physician at least once every two years if you have any history of exposure to asbestos. This can boost the chance of the disease being caught earlier when treatment options are better.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Mesothelioma

In most mesothelioma cases, the disease is brought on by exposure to asbestos due to the negligence of a company that exposed employees to asbestos. If the person dies from the disease, the estate of the deceased person may be able to file a wrongful death mesothelioma lawsuit against the former employer that exposed you to asbestos.

If you are a family member and want to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you should be aware that the time to file suit is quite limited. Every state has a statute of limitations to file a claim. In many states, the statute of limitations is only two years from the death of the loved one. If you speak to a licensed mesothelioma attorney as soon as possible, it will ensure that you will be able to file suit on a timely basis.

If your loved one dies of the disease, any decisions about lawsuits need to be made by the estate representative. This most often is an immediate member of the family, such as a spouse or child. But it does not necessarily have to be a direct member of the family.

The representative of the estate often will be named in the will of the deceased. This person also might be referred to as the executor or administrator. If there is no one appointed before the person passes away, the court trying the case will appoint one.

It is common for the estate representative to be the spouse or partner; children; parents; grandparents; close friend or person who was financially dependent upon the loved one who died.

Note that mesothelioma victims compensation from the wrongful death lawsuit will go to the estate and does not go to the estate representative. So, payments for any verdict or settlement can be divided among members of the family.

In many situations, the money that is obtained in a wrongful death lawsuit might be less than what could be obtained in a personal injury suit. This is because the person in a personal injury lawsuit has expenses that go on for months or years, such as medical bills and lost earnings.