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Combination therapy shows promise for rare, deadly cancer caused by asbestos
Date:6/2/2011

here it starts off as a microscopic sheet of malignant cells that coats the interior of the chest and can grow to be several inches thick. The coating and enveloping nature of the cancer makes it impossible to completely remove it with surgery alone. As a result, the conventional surgery-based approach to treatment involves radical surgery that includes removing the lung, in combination with chemotherapy and whole chest radiation. Even with this aggressive treatment, the disease will recur in almost all patients.

The current study had two goals. The first was to determine if using a new combination of PDT and surgery would allow a less extensive surgical procedure to be used in lieu of an EPP. The second was to determine if, based on previous research from Penn with PDT, the treatment would have any positive effect on survival for patients.

Unlike radiation, which passes through the body, the PDT therapy used in the current study penetrates only a short distance which allows the lung to be preserved. The PDT treatment aims to eradicate the remaining microscopic disease trigger a patient's own immune system to help fight cancer. Penn is one of only two centers in the world where PDT is used to treat pleural mesothelioma.

In the study, 28 patients (19 men, 9 women) underwent surgical resection plus PDT for pleural mesothelioma. Patients were aged from 27 to 81 years. All patients were seen in a multidisciplinary setting and educated about the spectrum of treatment options available, including surgical intervention and its currently investigational status. Of the study group, 14 patients were treated by modified extrapleural pneumonectomy (MEPP) and 14 by radical pleurectomy (RP) and intraoperative PDT. Twenty-two of the 28 patients also received chemotherapy.

Demographics in the MEPP and RP cohorts were similar in age, sex, stage, nodal status, histology, and adjuvant treatments. Stage III/IV disease was present in 12 of 14 pati
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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-8369
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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