Objective: The authors examine the feasibility and efficacy of trimodality therapy in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma and identify prognostic factors. Background: Mesothelioma is a rare, uniformly fatal disease that has increased in incidence in recent decades. Single and bimodality therapies do not improve survival. Methods: From 1980 to 1995, 120 patients underwent treatment for pathologically confirmed malignant mesothelioma at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana Farbar Cancer Institute (Boston, MA). Initial patient evaluation was performed by a multimodality team. Patients meeting selection criteria and with resectable disease identified by computed tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy followed by combination chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Results: The cohort included 27 women and 93 men with a mean age of 56 years. Operative mortality rate was 5.0%, with a major morbidity rate of 22%. Overall survival rates were 45% at 2 years and 22% at 5 years. Two and 5 year survival rates were 65% and 27%, respectively, for patients with epithelial cell type, and 20% and 0%, respectively, for patients with sarcomatous or mixed histology tumors. Nodal involvement was a significant negative prognostic factor. Patients who were node negative with epithelial histology had 2 and 5 year survival rates of 74% and 39%, respectively involvement of margins at time of resection did not affect survival, except in the case of full thickness, transdiaphragmatic invasion. Classification on the basis of a revised staging system stratified median survivals, which were 22, 17, and 11 months for stages I, II, and III, respectively (p = 0.04). Conclusions: Extrapleural pneumonectomy with adjuvant therapy is appropriate treatment for selected patients with malignant mesothelioma selected using a revised staging system.
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