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  CUTTING EDGE RESPIRATORY MEDICINE 2013


Panminerva Medica 2013 June;55(2):157-73

Copyright © 2013 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Management of malignant pleural mesothelioma: have we made any progress?

Hiddinga B. I. 1, Surmont V. F. 2, Van Meerbeeck J. P. 1, 2

1 Department of Thoracic Oncology, MOCA, University Hospital of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; 2 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium


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As the incidence of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is increasing in the next decades, treatment is a challenge. The past 2 years have seen a number of promising achievements in the management of patients with MPM. Treatment of a symptomatic malignant pleural effusion through indwelling pleural catheter (IPC) may allow for an individualized treatment. Advances in the systemic treatment with targeted agents will undoubtedly gain by the discovery of a driver mutation which may be selectively targeted. In the meantime, the addition of monoclonal antibodies to a standard chemotherapy backbone might result in a modest improvement in outcome in patients selected for the presence of the ligand. New techniques in radiation therapy, pleural intensity-modulated radiotherapy, helical tomography and proton-therapy are exciting advances in multimodality treatment enhancing local control and therefore improving overall survival. The role of surgery remains controversial and should be further explored. Surgical procedures consist of extrapleural pneumonectomy or lung sparing operations like debulking of the parietal and visceral pleura by (extended) pleurectomy/decortication. Where the treatment in multimodality therapy may lead to improved disease-free survival and overall survival, the type of cyto-reductive procedure should be selected on institutional and surgeon’s experience. The increase in mesothelioma incidence is matched only by the increasing number of researchers and studies. It is up to the clinicians to support these efforts by stimulating their patients to participate in this clinical research.

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birgitta.hiddinga@uza.be