NEWS | Mesothelioma Survival Case Encouraging for Current Patients

A new case report out of Belgium has some encouraging news for mesothelioma patients. It recounts the case of a patient who not only survived multi-modality treatment for mesothelioma, but whose cancer disappeared completely.

The 50-year-old patient was suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma, a virulent lung-related cancer usually caused by inhalation of asbestos dust. The patient had the epithelial variety of the disease and a fairly contained tumor on the surface of the lung lining. Staging showed that the mesothelioma cells had not yet spread to the lymph nodes, which can be a precursor to metastasis (spread) to other parts of the body.

Doctors at the University Hospital in Leuven, Belgium treated the patient with a tri-modality approach, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Induction chemotherapy was administered prior to the surgery in an effort to shrink the primary tumor. Surgeon�s then performed an extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), removing the mesothelioma tumor, the nearest lung, and other diseased or at-risk tissues. After surgery, the patient underwent �radical radiotherapy� to destroy any remaining mesothelioma cells that could cause a tumor to regrow.

Following this treatment, the doctors report a �complete disappearance of solid tumor tissue�. Although the patient�s younger age, epithelial subtype, and early-stage mesothelioma were all good prognostic factors, complete remission in mesothelioma is extremely rare. Summarizing these remarkable results in a Belgian medical journal, the authors say more study is needed to determine how they might be replicated in other mesothelioma patients.

�The real prognostic value of the pathologic complete remission of a malignant pleural mesothelioma definitely needs to be further evaluated in a larger series of patients,� they write.

Survival of mesothelioma is not unprecedented and new, investigative treatments are improving the odds for newly-diagnosed patients. At nearly 17 years after his diagnosis, Paul Kraus, author of �Surviving Mesothelioma and Other Cancers: A Patient�s Guide�, is considered the world�s longest-living documented mesothelioma survivor.


Moubax, K, et al, �Pathologic complete remission of malignant pleural mesothelioma after combined modality treatment: a case report�, October 2013, Acta Clinical Belgica, pp. 386-388.

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