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Treatment and survival in diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma; a study of 83 cases from the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The influence of treatment on clinical outcome in pleural mesothelioma (PM) is uncertain. We studied 83 patients with PM treated at our institution to evaluate the impact of treatment modality on survival, Methods. Medical records of 83 patients with PM treated between 1978 and 1994 were reviewed. The following data were tabulated for each patient; age, sex, date of diagnosis, history of asbestos exposure, smoking history, method of diagnosis, histologic subtype, type of treatment and survival from diagnosis. Four treatment groups were analyzed; chemotherapy (C), surgery (S), combined modality (CM i.e. S + C with or without radiation therapy) and supportive care alone (SC). Survival curves were calculated and adjustment made for age. Survival curves were compared using Wilcoxon Chi-square analysis. Results. Seventy-one males and 12 females with a mean age of 67 years were analyzed. Seventy-five percent were smokers and 74% reported definite or probable asbestos exposure. Treatment groups did not vary according to smoking or asbestos history. The CM group and SC groups contained similar proportions of patients with epithelial tumors (54% v 56%). Median survival for patients in the CM group was 23.9 months versus 4.5 months among those receiving SC (p < 0.01). Discussion. This analysis suggest prolonged survival among patients with PM receiving CM versus SC or single modality treatment.

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