Objectives: We performed a retrospective review of the efficacy and morbidity of radical pleurectomy/decortication and intraoperative radiotherapy followed by external beam radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy for diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Methods: A total of 32 patients with diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma were initially evaluated between January 1995 and September 2000. Three patients were excluded from analysis because of unresectable disease. Two patients died postoperatively, and one patient had recurrent disease previously treated at an outside institution. Of the remaining 26 patients included in the analysis, 24 received intraoperative radiotherapy. External beam radiation therapy was generally started 1 to 2 months after resection and delivered by means of 3-dimensional conformal radiation therapy or with inverse treatment planning intensity-modulated radiation therapy. When given, chemotherapy consisted of 2 to 3 cycles of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and cisplatin initiated 1 to 2 months after completion of radiation.
Results: At the time of data analysis, 5 of 26 patients were alive. The median follow-up was 9.7 months (range, 2-67.6 months). The median overall survival and progression-free interval from the time of the operation were 18.1 and 12.2 months, respectively. The Kaplan-Meier estimates of overall survival and freedom from progression at 1 year were 64% and 50%, respectively. The site of failure was mostly locoregional. However, there were 4 abdominal failures and 1 contralateral lung failure.
Conclusions: Radical pleurectomy/decortication with aggressive radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy might offer an alternative treatment option to those who cannot tolerate extrapleural pneumonectomy.