Radiation therapy in the management of patients with mesothelioma

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1982 Jan;8(1):19-25. doi: 10.1016/0360-3016(82)90379-0.


The results of radiation therapy in the management of 27 patients with malignant mesothelioma were reviewed. Eight patients were treated with a curative intent combining attempted surgical excision of tumor (thoracic in 6 and peritoneal in 2), aggressive radiation therapy, and combination chemotherapy using an adriamycin-containing regimen. One patient achieved a 2-year disease-free interval followed by recurrence of tumor above the thoracic irradiation field. This patient was retreated with localized irradiation and is disease-free after 5 years of initial diagnosis. One patient has persistent abdominal disease at 18 months; the other 6 patients suffered local recurrence within 8-13 months of initiation of treatment. Radiation therapy was used in 19 other patients who received 29 courses for palliation of dyspnea, superior vena cava syndrome, dysphagia, or neurological symptoms of brain metastasis. A palliation index was used to determine the effectiveness of irradiation and revealed that relief of symptoms was complete or substantial in 5 treatment courses, moderately effective in 6 courses and inadequate in 18 treatment courses. Adequate palliation strongly correlated with a dose at or above 4,000 rad in 4 weeks. The management of patients with mesothelioma requires new and innovative approaches to increase the effectiveness of radiation therapy and minimize the significant potential combined toxicity of pulmonary irradiation and adriamycin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / drug therapy
  • Mesothelioma / radiotherapy*
  • Mesothelioma / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Palliative Care
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Thoracic Neoplasms / surgery


  • Antineoplastic Agents