Do we need a revised staging system for malignant pleural mesothelioma? Analysis of the IASLC database

Ann Cardiothorac Surg. 2012 Nov;1(4):438-48. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2225-319X.2012.11.10.


Introduction: A number of staging systems have been proposed for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) in the past, but few have utilized a TNM (tumor, node, metastasis) system. The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) previously developed a TNM-staging system which has been accepted by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and the American Joint Commission on Cancer (AJCC). The present study examines this staging system by analysing the updated IASLC database for patients with MPM.

Methods: De-identified data from participating centres dated from 1995 to 2009 were submitted to the IASLC Statistical Center. Surgical procedures included those with a curative or palliative intent. Survival was measured from the date of pathologic diagnosis to the most recent contact or death. Endpoints included overall survival and analysis of potential prognostic factors.

Results: Data was available for 3,101 patients from 15 centers, mostly from North America and Europe. After a median follow-up of 15 months, a number of clinicopathological and treatment-related prognostic factors were found to significantly influence overall survival. These included overall tumor stage based on the proposed TNM staging system, T category, N category, tumor histology, gender, age, and type of operation.

Conclusions: The IASLC database represents the largest, multicenter and international database on MPM to date. Analyses demonstrate that the proposed TNM staging system effectively distinguishes the T and N categories, but also highlight areas for potential revision in the future.

Keywords: Pleural mesothelioma; decortication; extrapleural pneumonectomy; multi-institutional database; pleurectomy; staging; survival; trimodality therapy.