A Trimodality, Four-Step Treatment including Chemotherapy, Pleurectomy/Decortication and Radiotherapy in Early-Stage Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Single-Institution Retrospective Case Series Study

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Dec 29;14(1):142. doi: 10.3390/cancers14010142.


Background: Multimodality treatment is considered the best treatment strategy for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). However, the ideal combination of them is still a matter of controversy. Here, we report a case series of MPM treated with a trimodality approach: induction chemotherapy (CT), pleurectomy/decortication (P/D), postoperative radiotherapy (RT) and post-operative CT.

Methods: A retrospective case series of 17 MPM patients treated between 2013 and 2020 is presented. Patients had epithelial or mixed MPM diagnosed by video-assisted thoracoscopy and pathologic IMIG stage I or II disease. Treatment details and radiological data were collected. Induction therapy consisted of combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed, every 21 days for two cycles. P/D was performed 4-6 weeks after induction CT, post-operative RT 3-6 weeks after surgery, while post-operative CT was given 4-6 weeks after RT, with the same schedule of induction.

Results: All patients showed objective response or stability of disease at the restaging following induction CT and underwent surgery by posterolateral thoracotomy. There were two cases of cardiac arrest as major intraoperative complication, both resolved by manual cardiac massage. Minor complications included one hemidiaphragm elevation, 1 anemia requiring blood transfusion, one wound infection, and two persistent air leaks. Median overall survival was 32.1 months, median progression free survival was 23.7 months.

Conclusions: These results suggest the feasibility of these trimodality treatment scheme for early stage MPM patients. Larger series and long-term prospective studies are needed to confirm the validity of this strategy.

Keywords: chemotherapy; mesothelioma; radiation therapy; statistics; surgery techniques; survival analysis.