Mesothelioma Survival Not Helped By High-Dose Radiotherapy: Study

Researchers failed to find any benefit in giving mesothelioma cancer patients high-doses of radiotherapy after they had already received chemotherapy, according to the findings of a new study. 

A study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) congress in Madrid, Spain, held disappointing findings for those seeking new ways to treat mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.

The research involved 153 patients with surgically-treatable malignant pleural mesothelioma. They were treated with chemotherapy, then surgical removal of affected lung tissue, and some received radiotherapy. Researchers then looked at rates of relapse-free survival.

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.


Researchers failed to find any difference in survival rates or local recurrence rates for those who did or did not receive high-dose radiotherapy.

“Mesothelioma remains a difficult disease to find better treatment options for, so we asked whether high-dose hemithoracic radiotherapy would decrease the rate or delay the time of local recurrence after chemotherapy and radical surgery,” lead author Professor Rolf A. Stahel, current President of ESMO, said in a press release. “We aimed for a six month delay in local recurrence, which would be meaningful because it’s an aggressive treatment for patients.”

The researchers say there are still phases of the clinical trial yet to go and have not determined that there is no use for high-dose radiotherapy in mesothelioma treatment.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, which is only known to be caused by exposure to asbestos and breathing asbestos fibers. It is a lethal disease that is often at a very advanced stage when a diagnosis is made, resulting in a very short life-expectancy.

Mesothelioma lawsuits are the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history, with more than 600,000 people having filed a case against more than 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with cancer that was allegedly caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

In addition to claims for workers exposed to asbestos, in recent years there have been a growing number of secondary exposure mesothelioma cases have been brought in recent years, with wives, children and other family members alleging they developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.


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