Introduction: The role of surgery in the management of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is controversial and there are no established guidelines. We describe the feasibility and long-term outcomes associated with Radical Pleurectomy (RP) as surgical therapy modality in a standardized trimodality therapy concept of MPM.
Methods: From November 2002 to October 2007, 35 out of 102 consecutive patients with MPM were enrolled in our prospective database. They underwent trimodality therapy, including RP followed by 4 cycles of chemotherapy with Cisplatin (75 mg/m(2))/Pemetrexed (500 mg/m(2)) and radiotherapy 4-6 weeks after operation.
Results: Median age was 65 years. Nineteen patients were in advanced stages III and IV (54.3%). Tumor histology was epithelial in 27 patients (77.1%). Macroscopic complete resection could be achieved in 18 patients (51.4%). Surgical morbidity/mortality and trimodality treatment-related mortality were 20.0%, 2.9% and 5.8%, respectively. Thirty-three patients completed the trimodality therapy. Median follow-up was 21.7 months. Overall median survival was 30.0 months. One-, 2-, and 3-year-survival were 69%, 50% and 31%, respectively. Advanced stages III/IV (p=0.06), macroscopic incomplete resections (p=0.001), non-epithelial histology (p=0.55) and nodal metastases (p=0.19) were associated with poorer survival.
Conclusions: The trimodality therapy concept with RP demonstrates promising results in terms of long-term survival, morbidity and mortality. We propose that a surgical philosophy of limiting the procedure related morbidity while achieving comparable cytoreductive results allows patients to maintain physiological reserve to be eligible for multimodality treatment options in the long-term. The observed and theoretical benefits of this trimodality treatment approach warrant confirmation in larger RCT.
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