Mesothelioma Severity Could Be Better Predicted By Determining Tumor Weight, Volume: Report

Researchers are calling for the development of a better scoring system for measuring the severity of mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer linked to asbestos exposure, which is often not diagnosed until it is already at a very advanced stage. 

In a study published last month in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, researchers from the University of Chicago found that tumor weight and volume could be used to provide more accurate mesothelioma staging information.

Researchers looked at data on 116 patients undergoing mesothelioma treatment over a period of six years, finding that tumor volume was a predictor of T stage and mesothelioma survival odds.

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The greater the volume of the tumors, the more an individual’s chances of surviving mesothelioma decreased.

Currently, the scoring system for mesothelioma severity is based on the size of the tumors and if they have spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. This latest study suggests that tumor weight and volume should also be considered.

The current method, tumor/node/metastasis (TNM), is vital in determining how a patient is treated and in providing a prognosis. However, doctors currently use MRIs and CT scans to determine the size of the tumors, which does not take into account thickness and density.

Mesothelioma is only known to be caused by exposure to asbestos and breathing asbestos fibers. It is an especially lethal disease, as it is often not diagnosed until it is already at a very advanced stage, resulting in a very short life-expectancy. In most cases, the cancer was caused by asbestos exposure decades before.

Hundreds of thousands of mesothelioma lawsuits have been filed against more than 6,000 defendants who manufactured or sold asbestos products before they were banned in the U.S.

While most cases have been filed by individuals who worked directly with products containing asbestos, an increasing number of secondary exposure mesothelioma lawsuits have been brought in recent years on behalf of spouses, children and other family members who developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.

Improving the rating of mesothelioma stages and severity may help physicians identify better treatment alternatives and increasing the survival rates for the disease.


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