Ineffective Chemotherapy Treatment for Mesothelioma Victims

By: Katie Kelley

A UK medical journal, The Lancet, released disturbing results of a study finding no benefit of chemotherapy on patients suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).

The research, considered a setback for scientists seeking treatment for the condition, was conducted by Nicholas J. Vogelzang, MD, director of the Nevada Cancer Institute in Las Vegas, and was released in May 2008.

Chemotherapy Ineffective Mesothelioma Treatment

The study found that chemotherapy not only did not offer any improvement among mesothelioma patients but was found to have no significant impact whatsoever on survival rate of victims.

According to the study, the median average of survival rate between victims who received an active symptom control (ASC) versus those who received the same treatment plus chemotherapy was less than a month apart, suggesting no beneficial impact, although, the study did suggest further investigation into treatments of ASC and chemotherapy were likely required.

What is Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma?

MPM is considered an advanced and more severe form of malignant mesothelioma and has been characterized as an aggressive tumor with poor prognosis, according to a study published in The Oncologist, an international medical journal, in 2007. The cancer typically affects an individual's lungs and causes extreme difficulties when breathing.

The condition is also difficult to treat because of the high rate of misdiagnosis among patients. Unfortunately, the incidence of this condition has also been on the rise, and experts speculate that through the next 10 to 20 years, the number will only increase.

Mesothelioma Causes

For years, mesothelioma has been linked to the inhalation of vermiculite asbestos fibers and dust. Vermiculite is a mineral that was heavily mined. During the 20th century, several vermiculite mines, although the exact number is unknown, were functional in the United States, with countless other mines in operation throughout the world.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in charge of regulating and issuing guidelines for the safe removal and cleanup of asbestos in homes and building throughout the country. However, there is a large number, although estimates are not clear, of structures with asbestos-ridden insulation currently in the United States and improper exposure to such could increase risk of developing a form of mesothelioma.

Additional Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment Options

While the unfortunate truth is that malignant pleural mesothelioma is usually fatal among victims, there are a few treatment options for managing the disease, however these often depend upon the symptoms and stage of the illness.

Surgery is the most common mesothelioma treatment, although a study released in July 2007 in The Oncologist emphasized that the role of surgery in managing MPM is debatable. However, the three main surgical techniques used to manage MPM are pleurodesis, pleurectomy/decorication (P/D) and extrapleural pnemonectomy (EPP).

The study noted that as of yet, there have been no controlled studies determining whether one surgical procedure is better than another. Of the surgical procedures, the P/D and EPP methods aim for local control of the disease and while P/D has a limited morbidity, EPP has between 1.5 to 5 percent mortality rates.

It is often recommended that individuals who suffer from this type of mesothelioma or any form of mesothelioma locate an experienced mesothelioma attorney. Because of the high costs and technical difficulties associated with mesothelioma treatment, a mesothelioma lawsuit may potentially offer relief in the form of monetary compensation, especially since mesothelioma is considered by some to have been highly preventable.

Cancer
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Cancer