Intraoperative chemotherapy has been available as a treatment protocol for patients diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma for many years. But the use of chemotherapy in the midst of surgery for pleural mesothelioma has lagged behind, largely out of concerns that patients might suffer significant complications. Now a study published in the Indian Journal of Surgical Oncologyseems to be clearing the way for mesothelioma surgeons to begin offering the procedure, as researchers found it to be both safe and effective.
Indian health experts are increasingly concerned about an increase in the incidence of mesothelioma in their population. Though the country banned the mining of the carcinogenic material and banned its use outright in 2011, it is still very much in use throughout the country, as the population remains largely unaware of its dangers. This has led the medical community to work tirelessly to find an effective cure for the rare and deadly illness. This recent study was conducted by a collaborative group of mesothelioma surgeons from throughout the country.
The surgeons’ goal was to determine whether patients undergoing either the most aggressive form of pleural mesothelioma surgery, extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), or those undergoing the less aggressive lung-sparing surgery known as pleurectomy/decortication (P/D), face the risk of serious complications when intraoperative chemotherapy is administered. This procedure, known as HITHOC (or hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy), is similar to the use of chemotherapy known as HIPEC, or Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, that is used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma. In both cases it is theorized that exposing any mesothelioma cells left behind after surgery to direct chemotherapy minimizes the risk of the disease returning by killing those cells.
Though the study involved only a few patients, the researchers were able to find mesothelioma patients who’d had HITHOC in combination with both the EPP and the P/D surgeries, as well as several who had not used HITHOC at all for comparison. They found that only one of the patients who had HITHOC experienced complications, and those were not fatal. They also found that the HITHOC patients survived far longer than those who had not had the procedure, and were able to conclude that the use of the new protocol does not endanger patients.
If you have been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, news of a safe and effective new medical approach to your illness is very good news. For more information on dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244