Pleural mesothelioma is a devastating diagnosis that often carries a bleak prognosis. It’s a type of cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs.

The development of mesothelioma has been linked to asbestos exposure. Many industrial workers including mechanics, foremen, trade laborers, chemical workers and machinery operators were exposed to asbestos on the job. It can take up to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop. Once diagnosed, the disease usually proves deadly within 12 to 24 months.

Treatment options are limited for patients, but scientists are continuously researching options to help these patients live longer.

For example, researchers with Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are conducting a phase II trial examining the side effects and effectiveness in improving overall survival with surgery, chemotherapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in patients with stage I-III pleural mesothelioma. The research is being conducted at 11 locations across the country.

Patients who meet the criteria for and are accepted into the study will undergo pleurectomy/decortication (P/D), an aggressive surgery involving the removal of the pleural lung lining and all visible tumor masses, while leaving the lungs in place. Within four to eight weeks after surgery, patients will receive a three-drug course of chemotherapy every 21 days for up to four courses. The chemotherapy drugs include pemetrexed sodium intravenously (IV), cisplatin IV, and carboplatin IV.

Within four to eight weeks after chemotherapy, patients will undergo 28 fractions of IMRT over about a six-week period. At the completion of the study treatment, patients will be followed up with at one month, then every three months for two years.

Eligibility criteria, treatment locations and other information about the study are available through the National Cancer Institute.

Source: National Cancer Institute

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