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

ents (86 percent) in both groups. The median overall survival for the patients who received the MEPP treatment was 8.4 months. At a follow-up 2.1 years after the end of treatment, a median survival rate for the patients who received a radical pleurectomy had not yet been reached. The results yielded by the radical pleurectomy and adjuvant PDT were superior to other studies of surgical treatment plans with patients of similar demographics.

"Our primary motivation in attempting the lung sparing surgery was preservation of quality of life, and we were hoping the survival results would at least be similar to the more traditional pneumonectomy approach," said Friedberg. "Although our pneumonectomy results were in line with what is often reported for similar patients having surgery-based treatments, we were completely caught off guard when the analysis revealed a significantly longer survival for the patients who retained both lungs."

Although all patients in the current study received the PDT therapy in combination with a different surgical technique, the researchers further note that the use of intraoperative PDT is the evident difference between the multimodal protocol used in the current study and other standard treatment options presently in use, and it seems worth speculating on any potential direct contributions of the PDT to the overall survival rates.

"Why this is happening is unclear and has emerged as the focus of our continuing research," said Friedberg. The possibility exists that the residual PDT-treated microscopic disease induced an autologous tumor vaccine effect or potentially enhanced the effect of adjuvant treatments.

"This study has limitations, as many mesothelioma studies do, but these results are very encouraging. The findings from our study are particularly notable because many of the patients in this study would often be excluded from surgery-based therapy because of their advanced age or unfavorable oncolog
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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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