Treatment and Outcomes of Primary Pericardial Mesothelioma: A Contemporary Review of 103 Published Cases

Clin Lung Cancer. 2019 Mar;20(2):e152-e157. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2018.11.008. Epub 2018 Nov 29.


Primary pericardial mesothelioma (PPM) is a rare cancer for which there is no consensus on treatment. We evaluated and summarized a large contemporary population of published PPM cases to characterize risk factors, treatment patterns, and clinical outcomes. Using Ovid and PubMed, literature published from 2000 through 2016 was searched using the terms "primary pericardial mesothelioma," "pericardial mesothelioma," and "malignant pericardial mesothelioma." We identified 6 case series and 84 case reports for a total of 103 PPM cases published from 2000 through 2016. The median age at diagnosis was 55 years, and the median overall survival was 6 months. In univariate analyses of clinical characteristics including gender, asbestos exposure, tobacco use, prior radiation exposure, histologic subtype, and metastasis and/or mediastinal spread, only the presence of metastasis and/or mediastinal spread was a significant predictor of decreased survival (P = .015). Surgery did not provide a statistically significant survival benefit (P = .12). A survival benefit was noted in those who received chemotherapy (median survival, 13 months vs. 0.5 months, P = .002), specifically chemotherapy with a platinum agent with or without pemetrexed. In multivariate analysis, only the receipt of chemotherapy was associated with improved survival. PPM remains a rare and poorly understood malignancy with unclear etiology and a poor prognosis. In this retrospective systematic review, a survival benefit was seen in patients who received chemotherapy.

Keywords: Asbestos; Clinical; Malignancy; Pericardium; Retrospective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Asbestos / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Heart Neoplasms / mortality
  • Heart Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Mesothelial / mortality
  • Neoplasms, Mesothelial / therapy*
  • Pemetrexed / therapeutic use*
  • Pericardium
  • Platinum / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Pemetrexed
  • Asbestos
  • Platinum