A recent study has found that chemotherapy is the best treatment for pericardial mesothelioma.

Pericardial mesothelioma is one of the rarer forms of mesothelioma – only a few hundred cases have ever been reported. This form of mesothelioma affects the tissue lining the heart.

A study by doctors at the University of Texas has looked at 103 cases of pericardial mesothelioma. They found that, whilst surgery is the most common treatment, chemotherapy gives patients the best survival rate.

On average, patients survive for around 6 to 10 months after they have been diagnosed with pericardial mesothelioma. Unfortunately, pericardial mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer, which means that there is still a lot that we do not know about this type of mesothelioma.

The study:

The cases reviewed looked at patients who were diagnosed between 2000 and 2016.  The median age at diagnosis was 55 and the median survival rate was six months.

There are a number of factors that can affect the survival rate of a mesothelioma patient. This includes the patient’s general health, age at diagnosis and their cancer stage. The study found that there were two factors which affected the survival rate for pericardial mesothelioma – how much the cancer had spread and whether the patient had chemotherapy.

Lead author, Elizabeth McGehee, MD, said: “A survival benefit was noted in those that received chemotherapy (median survival, 13 months vs 0.5 months). In multivariate analysis, only the receipt of chemotherapy was associated with improved survival.”

In other words, the patients who had chemotherapy treatment lived for an average of 13 months. This is in comparison to those who did not have chemotherapy, who lived for an average of just 2 weeks.

Whilst the results of this study do appear to show that chemotherapy is the best treatment to extend survival rate, other factors must be considered. For those who did not have chemotherapy, it may be that they were diagnosed when their cancer had progressed to a later stage, where their survival rate was significantly reduced in any event.

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Source: McGehee, E, at al, “Treatment and Outcomes of Primary Pericardial Mesothelioma: A Contemporary Reviewing of 103 Published Cases”, November 29 2018, Clinical Lung Cancer, https://www.clinical-lung-cancer.com/article/S1525-7304(18)30304-8/fulltext

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