Assessment of therapy responses and prediction of survival in malignant pleural mesothelioma through computer-aided volumetric measurement on computed tomography scans

J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Jun;5(6):879-84. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181dd0ef1.


Purpose: The purposes of this study were (1) to calculate the tumor volume in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma using computed tomography (CT) scan images and a computer-aided measurement technique and (2) to investigate whether the baseline volume, or volume change after chemotherapy, predicts patient survival.

Methods: We compiled the clinical characteristics and outcome from 30 patients enrolled in two clinical trials at our cancer center in which the patients were treated with induction chemotherapy followed by surgery and radiation. CT scans of 30 patients were obtained at baseline and after two cycles of chemotherapy. Tumor volumes were calculated using a semiautomated computer algorithm. Overall survival was measured using a landmark time at 3 months post-treatment start date such that all patients had already received two cycles of chemotherapy and a follow-up scan. Association of volume changes with overall survival were determined by a Cox Proportional Hazards Model or log-rank test. The relationship between both pre and postoperative clinical stage and baseline tumor volume was analyzed using the rank sum test.

Results: The median baseline tumor volume was 473 cm(3) (range, 61 cm(3)-2108 cm(3)). Patients with high preoperative stages (III and IV) had larger baseline tumor volume than those with low preoperative stages (I and II) (p = 0.05). Patients with baseline volumes smaller than 619 cm(3) tended to survive longer than those with baseline volumes larger than or equal to 619 cm(3) (p = 0.07). Percentage change of tumor volume from baseline to first follow-up CT after two cycles of chemotherapy was significantly associated with overall survival (hazard ratio: 1.94 [95% confidence interval, 1.05-3.60], p = 0.04). Whereas the relative change in modified RECIST measurements was not significantly associated with overall survival (hazard ratio: 1.06 [95% confidence interval, 0.96-1.16], p = 0.25). By classifying changes of tumor volumes between two scans into two groups, i.e., "increase" and "decrease," a significant difference in survival was found between those who increased and decreased after two cycles of chemotherapy (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Changes in tumor volume after two cycles of chemotherapy predicted overall survival in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Tumor volume at baseline was shown to be associated with preoperative clinical stage and survival. Computer-aided volumetric measurements may enable more reliable therapeutic response assessment and could provide additional prognostic information.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Mesothelioma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Tumor Burden*