Principles of Surgical Management of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2023 Sep;21(9):981-986. doi: 10.6004/jnccn.2023.7055.


Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (MPeM) is a rare malignancy and represents 5% to 30% of malignant mesothelioma cases. The primary curative therapy for MPeM is radical cytoreductive surgery (CRS) and hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), with the strongest predictor of long-term survival being complete cytoreduction. There is a paucity of high-quality evidence available to guide management in MPeM; however, NCCN Guidelines for the management of MPeM were updated this year. In well-selected patients, 5-year overall survival exceeds 65%, but achieving optimal results requires careful preoperative evaluation and expert surgical management. Preoperative patient selection includes histology review and staging with cross-sectional imaging. Ideal candidates for curative intent surgery are those with epithelioid MPeM, a low peritoneal cancer index, and a good performance status. Contraindications to curative intent surgery include the sarcomatoid MPeM, distant metastases, extensive nodal metastases, and extensive small bowel serosal or mesentery involvement not amenable to complete cytoreduction. Those with biphasic histology, bicavitary disease, and metastatic lymphadenopathy may be considered for surgery following response to neoadjuvant therapy. CRS involves resection of all peritoneal disease, the extent of which varies case by case. Key aspects involve careful evaluation of all peritoneal surfaces, complete parietal peritonectomy and omentectomy, and evaluating suspicious abdominal lymph node basins. Once maximum cytoreduction is achieved, HIPEC is performed using a platinum-based perfusate. Postoperative protocols are recommended to optimize recovery and mitigate HIPEC-specific complications, namely chemotherapy-mediated nephrotoxicity and bone marrow suppression.

Trial registration: NCT05001880.

Keywords: HIPEC; Peritoneal mesothelioma; cytoreductive surgery; peritoneal surface malignancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytoreduction Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Mesothelioma* / surgery
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant*

Associated data