Aim: Even though followed by a prolonged survival in highly selected patients, the promising results of Sugarbaker's trimodality treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) are debated and not yet uniformly replicated. The purpose of this study is to evaluate prospectively the reproducibility of the trimodality treatment results in a patient population with mesothelioma staged by the IMIG classification.
Methods: Fifty-four patients with MPM have been judged candidable to extended pleuropneumonectomy (EPP), to be followed by chemotherapy (paclitaxel+carboplatin) and radiotherapy (50 Gy).
Results: At thoracotomy, 44 of the 54 surgical candidates (81%) underwent EPP; 73% of the operated patients completed the entire adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy with no major toxicity. The 30-day or in-hospital operative mortality rate was 4.5% (2 deaths), the major morbidity 36%, and the overall complication rate 50%. At 5 years the projected survival of the 42 surgical survivors submitted to EPP is 19%; median survival is 20 months. The restricted group of patients with epithelial, N0-1, completely resected MPM (microscopic negative margins) exhibits a projected 50% 5-year survival. Clinical understaging has shown up to be noticeable both at the thoracotomy exploration and pathology examination. Most of the disease recurrences are loco-regional and the current insufficiency of intraoperative or postsurgical radicality needs improvement, along with earlier diagnosis, more accurate staging, and preoperative induction for the multimodality treatment of pleural mesothelioma to become an established curative option.
Conclusions: This series confirms the reproducibility of the trimodality treatment for MPM,which is associated with prolonged survival for early-stage tumors at the cost of a not prohibitive treatment-related mortality rate.