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A recently adopted mesothelioma treatment protocol has resulted in what Canadian medical experts have called “encouraging” survival results for those who have been diagnosed with the incurable asbestos related cancer.

The new protocol makes use of two treatments already widely used by treating experts worldwide, to treat mesothelioma and its devastating affects.

Specifically, the reporting medical experts from Toronto underlined that firstly, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) should be used and then, this should be followed by surgery resulting in removal of the mesothelioma.

The author of the study, Marc De Perrot based at the Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto stated :-

“The median overall survival and disease free survival was 51 and 47 months, respectively, in epithelial subtypes, compared with 10 and 8 months in biphasic subtypes.

The study review took place between November of 2008 and October of 2014 and the report concentrated on the study of 62 mesothelioma patients, all of which were suffering with the pleural form of the disease which affects the lining of the lung.

Each mesothelioma sufferer received 25 Gy of targeted radiation to one side of their chest over a one week period. Other areas near to the affected site also received a boost of radiation treatment after each sufferer had undergone CT and PET scans to assess other areas which may be at risk of developing malignancy.

After the radiotherapy had been administered, patients underwent invasive, extrapleural pnuemonectomy (EPP) surgery to remove the mesothelioma from the pleura, the lung closest to the tumour and other tissue areas thought to be at risk.

The reporting experts believe that the important discovery following the study is that it is often beneficial for patients to undergo IMRT prior to undergoing EPP.

Whilst it is generally accepted that EPP usually carries a high risk of adverse affects and complications, only 39% of patients undergoing the treatment under the new protocol suffered treatment related complications. Tragically 5% of patients passed away due to the treatment.

This mortality rate is considered to be lower than usual and may be due to the use of both forms of treatment combined. The Canadian experts have now concluded that this dual focus is their preferred approach when treating incurable asbestos related mesothelioma.


de Perrot, M et al. “Accelerated hemithoracic radiation followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy for malignant pleural mesothelioma”, 19th October 2015, Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Epub ahead of print

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