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Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Pleurectomy with Adjuvant Therapy

      The epidemiology of mesothelioma first came to light in 1960 with the report by Wagner and colleagues of 33 asbestos mine workers from South Africa who developed mesothelioma.
      • Wagner J.C.
      • Sleggs C.A.
      • Marchand P.
      Diffuse pleural mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in the North Western Cape Province.
      Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare tumor but the geographical distribution of the disease is diverse; taken as a whole, the United States has an incidence just under 1 per 100,000. However, the incidence has been rising since the 1970s. The male-to-female ratio is 5:1, which is likely due to the occupational exposure of asbestos.
      Staging in MPM, as is the case in other aspects of the disease, lacks consensus. Various staging systems exist. The classic system described by Butchart and colleagues in 1976 is relatively simple and descriptive.
      • Butchart E.G.
      • Ashcroft T.
      • Barnsley W.C.
      • et al.
      Pleuropneumonectomy in the management of diffuse malignant mesothelioma of the pleura experience with 29 patients.
      The Brigham staging system is based on resectability by extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) and may not be of value in patients undergoing pleurectomy and decortication (P/D). The TNM staging system proposed by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) is the most comprehensive and is accepted by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and International Union Against Cancer (UICC).

      Indications for Surgery

      MPM was thought to be uniformly fatal in the days before effective systemic therapy. Surgery was reserved for diagnosis and palliation. In the first reports of “curative” surgery, Butchart and colleagues (1976) performed EPP with a surgical mortality of 30%.
      • Butchart E.G.
      • Ashcroft T.
      • Barnsley W.C.
      • et al.
      Pleuropneumonectomy in the management of diffuse malignant mesothelioma of the pleura experience with 29 patients.
      In the nearly 30 years since the initial report, advances in patient selection and intraoperative and postoperative management have substantially decreased the mortality of the operation as reported by centers with high volumes of mesothelioma surgery. Sugarbaker and colleagues reported their mortality from 328 consecutive EPP performed at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as 3.4%.
      • Sugarbaker D.J.
      • Jaklitsch M.T.
      • Bueno R.
      • et al.
      Prevention, early detection, and management of complications after 328 consecutive extrapleural pneumonectomies.
      At Memorial Sloan-Kettering, we reported a 5.2% mortality for EPP. The staggeringly high mortality seen in early attempts at EPP led to a movement away from this operation and toward P/D. The mortality of P/D is reported as l.8% and the lack of evidence demonstrating superiority of EPP over P/D was thought to be due to the up-front mortality increase with the more extensive operation.
      There are those who still believe that surgical intervention for purposes other than palliation in mesothelioma is not indicated. While it is true that there are no randomized controlled trials comparing surgical treatment to supportive care, the reality is that these trials will likely never be performed. For those who treat this disease and have a less nihilistic outlook, surgery forms a key component of the treatment algorithm.

      Indications for P/D

      Indications for P/D can be thought of as being patient related or tumor related. Perhaps the least controversial statement one can make about P/D is that it can be offered to patients who do not have the cardiopulmonary reserve to tolerate pneumonectomy. For patients who can tolerate pneumonectomy, the choice of operation becomes less clear. Some centers perform P/D for patients with early-stage disease, confined to the parietal pleural “capsule” (Butchart I, IMIG T1a, or T1b), the reasoning being that if no lung parenchyma is involved the inherent morbidity and mortality risk of adding a pneumonectomy is not warranted. Others disagree, feeling that the absence of lung parenchyma facilitates the administration of postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy.
      If one accepts that MPM is a disease where true R0 resections are a theoretical achievement, then the goal of surgery is to remove all gross tumor and serve as a foundation for adjuvant therapy. The choice of operation can then be made based on the extent of resection required and the extent of resection that the patient will tolerate. Some clinicians feel that with newer methods of radiation administration and ongoing attempts at other local and systemic therapies, the argument that residual lung parenchyma hinders appropriate adjuvant therapy may be less of a factor than it once was.

      Preoperative Evaluation

      All patients undergoing consideration for P/D need thorough imaging and cardiopulmonary evaluation. At a minimum, pulmonary function testing should be performed. Quantitative ventilation perfusion scans may also be indicated if associated lung resections are anticipated or to evaluate the possibility of EPP. Computed tomography of the thorax and upper abdomen is required imaging and magnetic resonance imaging may be superior in assessing discrete focuses of chest wall invasion or diaphragmatic muscle involvement but rarely changes surgical decisions.
      • Heelan R.T.
      • Rusch V.W.
      • Begg C.B.
      • et al.
      Staging of malignant pleural mesothelioma comparison of CT and MR imaging.
      18Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET) scanning in MPM can be used to provide stage and prognostic information. In addition to helping to determine the extent of tumor, PET can be used to detect N3 or M1 disease in 10% of patients.
      • Benard F.
      • Sterman D.
      • Smith R.J.
      • et al.
      Metabolic imaging of malignant pleural mesothelioma with fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography.
      • Flores R.M.
      • Akhurst T.
      • Gonen M.
      • et al.
      Positron emission tomography defines metastatic disease but not locoregional disease in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      The standardized uptake value (SUV) can also be used to predict the presence of N2 lymphatic spread.
      • Flores R.M.
      • Akhurst T.
      • Gonen M.
      • et al.
      Positron emission tomography defines metastatic disease but not locoregional disease in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      High SUV has also been shown to correlate with poor survival in MPM.
      • Flores R.M.
      • Akhurst T.
      • Gonen M.
      • et al.
      FDG-PET predicts survival in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      Another controversial question in the preoperative evaluation of patients is the role of mediastinoscopy in MPM. It is useful in determining the N-stage of most patients and is more accurate than computed tomography. However, up to 25% of patients have lymph node involvement confined to areas of the hemithorax inaccessible by mediastinoscopy such as the peridiaphragmatic or internal mammary regions. Furthermore, although N2 disease does negatively impact survival, it should not be used as the sole criteria to deny someone surgery.

      Operative Technique

      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Figure 1Patient in the lateral decubitus position. Following the induction of general anesthesia, a double lumen endotracheal tube should be inserted to facilitate the operation. An arterial line and central venous pressure monitoring are important as blood loss is often significant. The patient is placed in the lateral decubitus position and an extended posterolateral thoracotomy incision extending downwards to the costal margin is made.
      Figure thumbnail gr2
      Figure 2Sixth rib removed. The sixth rib is resected and the dissection is begun in the plane between the endothoracic fascia and the parietal pleura. The pleural tumor is bluntly dissected away from the chest wall.
      Figure thumbnail gr3
      Figure 3Dissection of the extrapleural plane. The plane is then developed in a cephalad direction toward the apex from the posterolateral direction using blunt and sharp dissection.
      Figure thumbnail gr4
      Figure 4Exposure of extrapleural thoracic cavity is facilitated by the placement on two finnechetto retractors. After a sufficient area of chest wall has been mobilized, two chest retractors facilitate exposure. Care in identifying the subclavian vessels is prudent as a traction injury to these structures is difficult to repair. As each area of dissection is completed, packs are placed to aid in hemostasis as a fair amount of blood loss will result from the blunt dissection. The dissection is then continued inferior and posterior from the incision to the diaphragm.
      Figure thumbnail gr5a
      Figure 5(A) Superior dissection of subclavian artery and aortic arch. (B) Superior dissection of SVC and azygous vein. The pleura can now be mobilized from the mediastinum. Once the upper portion of the lung is completely mobilized from the chest wall, the superior and posterior hilar structures are well exposed. On the left side, the esophagus and aorta must be identified and the dissection around them undertaken with care (A). On the right side, the superior vena cava must be dissected away from the specimen gently (B). The dissection then continues to the posterior aspect of the pericardium. SVC = superior vena cava.
      Figure thumbnail gr5b
      Figure 5(A) Superior dissection of subclavian artery and aortic arch. (B) Superior dissection of SVC and azygous vein. The pleura can now be mobilized from the mediastinum. Once the upper portion of the lung is completely mobilized from the chest wall, the superior and posterior hilar structures are well exposed. On the left side, the esophagus and aorta must be identified and the dissection around them undertaken with care (A). On the right side, the superior vena cava must be dissected away from the specimen gently (B). The dissection then continues to the posterior aspect of the pericardium. SVC = superior vena cava.
      Figure thumbnail gr6a
      Figure 6(A) Lateral dissection of descending aorta and esophagus. (B) Lateral dissection of carina and esophagus. On the left, care must be taken not to injure the descending aorta (A). On the right, a nasogastric tube helps to identify the esophagus by palpation (B). A plane between the mediastinal pleura and the pericardium is sometimes present. If it is not, the pericardium needs to be resected en bloc at a later stage of the operation with subsequent reconstruction.
      Figure thumbnail gr6b
      Figure 6(A) Lateral dissection of descending aorta and esophagus. (B) Lateral dissection of carina and esophagus. On the left, care must be taken not to injure the descending aorta (A). On the right, a nasogastric tube helps to identify the esophagus by palpation (B). A plane between the mediastinal pleura and the pericardium is sometimes present. If it is not, the pericardium needs to be resected en bloc at a later stage of the operation with subsequent reconstruction.
      Figure thumbnail gr7
      Figure 7Diaphragmatic fibers are cauterized while the inferior portion of the specimen is retracted cephalad. The dissection is then carried toward the posterior diaphragmatic sulcus. If superficial involvement of the diaphragm is found, a partial thickness resection can be performed. The plane between the tumor and the uninvolved diaphragm can be entered and the dissection is initiated at the posterior costophrenic angle and carried anteriorly. This is facilitated by strong retraction on the pleura away from the diaphragm. In many patients deeper involvement of the diaphragm mandates a full-thickness resection of a portion of the muscle. The deep border of the diaphragm must then be dissected from the peritoneum. Care should be taken to avoid entering the abdomen as tumor seeding into the peritoneal cavity is a concern. This is often unavoidable, especially around the central tendon, and any defect in the peritoneum should be closed immediately. The specimen is then mobilized en bloc back toward the pericardium medially. If resection of the pericardium is required, it is delayed until the tumor is mobilized as much as possible due to the accompanying arrhythmias from manipulation. The pericardium is gradually opened and traction sutures are placed on the nonspecimen edge to maintain the position of the heart and prevent retraction of the pericardium into the opposite hemithorax.
      Figure thumbnail gr8
      Figure 8Visceral pleura is separated from the underlying lung by sharp and blunt dissection. Once the dissection is completed to the hilar structures, the parietal pleura is opened and the pleural envelope is entered and decortication of the visceral pleura from the underlying lung and hilar vessels is performed.
      Figure thumbnail gr9a
      Figure 9(A) Sharp and blunt dissection separates lobes. (B) Sharp dissection to remove visceral pleura tumor off fissures. (C) Careful dissection of pleura from underlying pulmonary artery. This is, in some respects, the most technically demanding and tedious component of the operation. Decortication must be performed with care into the fissures because they are often substantially involved with disease. During the decortication, deflation of the lung will minimize blood loss and inflation will allow better visualization of the plane between the tumor and the visceral pleura or lung parenchyma. Communication with the anesthesiologist about the amount of blood loss is important as patients most often require intraoperative transfusion.
      Lymph node dissection should be performed and specimens sent and labeled separately to the pathologist. The subcarinal lymph nodes should be resected as well as the paratracheal lymph nodes on the right and aorto-pulmonary lymph nodes on the left.
      Figure thumbnail gr9b
      Figure 9(A) Sharp and blunt dissection separates lobes. (B) Sharp dissection to remove visceral pleura tumor off fissures. (C) Careful dissection of pleura from underlying pulmonary artery. This is, in some respects, the most technically demanding and tedious component of the operation. Decortication must be performed with care into the fissures because they are often substantially involved with disease. During the decortication, deflation of the lung will minimize blood loss and inflation will allow better visualization of the plane between the tumor and the visceral pleura or lung parenchyma. Communication with the anesthesiologist about the amount of blood loss is important as patients most often require intraoperative transfusion.
      Lymph node dissection should be performed and specimens sent and labeled separately to the pathologist. The subcarinal lymph nodes should be resected as well as the paratracheal lymph nodes on the right and aorto-pulmonary lymph nodes on the left.
      Figure thumbnail gr9c
      Figure 9(A) Sharp and blunt dissection separates lobes. (B) Sharp dissection to remove visceral pleura tumor off fissures. (C) Careful dissection of pleura from underlying pulmonary artery. This is, in some respects, the most technically demanding and tedious component of the operation. Decortication must be performed with care into the fissures because they are often substantially involved with disease. During the decortication, deflation of the lung will minimize blood loss and inflation will allow better visualization of the plane between the tumor and the visceral pleura or lung parenchyma. Communication with the anesthesiologist about the amount of blood loss is important as patients most often require intraoperative transfusion.
      Lymph node dissection should be performed and specimens sent and labeled separately to the pathologist. The subcarinal lymph nodes should be resected as well as the paratracheal lymph nodes on the right and aorto-pulmonary lymph nodes on the left.
      Figure thumbnail gr10
      Figure 10If enough diaphragm remains, it is usually defunctionalized and requires plication. Once the gross tumor is removed and the specimen is delivered, reconstruction of the pericardium and diaphragm, if required, are performed. If the diaphragm is largely intact, it can be closed primarily by plication to prevent upward movement and subsequent compression atelectasis of the lower lobe. On the right side, reconstruction of the diaphragm is performed with a double layer of Dexon mesh as the liver prevents herniation of intraabdominal contents. On the left, 2-mm-thickness Gore-Tex is used because thicker nonabsorbable material is required to prevent herniation. The prosthesis is secured laterally by placing sutures around the ribs. Posteriorly it is sutured to the crus or tacked to the prevertebral fascia. The medial aspect is sewn to the remaining edge of the diaphragm at its confluence with the pericardium. The diaphragmatic prosthesis should be made absolutely taut to prevent upward motion of the abdominal contents and subsequent atelectasis of the lower lobe. If the pericardium was resected, it is reconstructed with a single layer of Dexon mesh.
      Attention is now turned to obtaining hemostasis. An argon beam electrocoagulator may be used to help control diffuse bleeding from the chest wall. Three chest tubes are placed anteriorly and posteriorly into the apex and a right angle tube along the diaphragm. This should allow for control of the substantial air leaks that are anticipated and permit full expansion of the lung. The air leaks tend to resolve after 72 hours if the lung is fully expanded.

      Pitfalls

      During the dissection, certain areas of particular concern warrant special mention. The subclavian vessels can be injured by traction during the blunt dissection of the apex. On the right, care needs to be taken in the dissection of the mediastinal pleura from the superior vena cava. On the left, the plane between the tumor and the adventitia of the aorta, the origins of the intercostal vessels, and the esophagus, should all be identified.
      If the diaphragm is largely left intact and reconstruction is not undertaken, plication is often helpful to prevent elevation and paradoxical motion of the diaphragm and atelectasis of the lower lobe.
      While prior talc pleurodesis is not an absolute contraindication to the operation, it does increase the likelihood of substantial blood loss and air leak.

      Results

      P/D is generally well tolerated with a mortality limited to approximately 1 to 2% when performed at high volume centers. The most common complication is prolonged air leak occurring in 10% of patients. Hemorrhage, pneumonia, and empyema are less common complications. Median survivals for P/D alone range from 9 to 20 months in the literature.
      The technical challenge of separating tumor and visceral pleura from the lung parenchyma may result in suboptimal cytoreduction. This is reflected in the observation that the most common site of recurrence is the ipsilateral hemithorax.
      • Rusch V.W.
      Pleurectomy/decortication in the setting of multimodality treatment for diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma.

      Combined Modality Therapy

      Since the results of surgery alone are poor, most recent studies have combined P/D with some form or combination of adjuvant therapy. These have included external radiation, brachytherapy, systemic chemotherapy, intrapleural chemotherapy, and photodynamic therapy. It is important to note that these studies are almost uniformly observational in nature. When comparisons are performed, they are by and large across inhomogeneous groups, thereby limiting the conclusions that can be drawn about efficacy.

      P/D with Radiation

      Studies have used various forms of radiation therapy. The earliest experience with combined therapy for MPM was reported by McCormack and coworkers, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
      • McCormack P.M.
      • Nagasaki F.
      • Hilaris B.S.
      • et al.
      Surgical treatment of pleural mesothelioma.
      The combination of P/D with external radiation and systemic chemotherapy in 18 patients with epithelial mesothelioma produced a median survival of 16 months. In the subsequent 33 patients, brachytherapy was added and the median survival was 21 months.
      In another study at MSKCC, brachytherapy was used in patients following P/D who had gross residual disease followed by postoperative external beam radiation therapy (median dose of 4200 cGy). Local failure or disease progression occurred in 63% of patients and median survival was 13 months. Alberts and coworkers evaluated 262 patients with MPM, 26 of whom had P/D followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
      • Alberts A.S.
      • Falkson G.
      • Goedhals L.
      • et al.
      Malignant pleural mesothelioma a disease unaffected by current therapeutic maneuvers.
      The median survival for the whole group was 9.6 months and for the subset undergoing surgery was 10.9 months, which was not a statistically significantly difference.
      A Finnish study comprising 100 patients evaluated five different adjuvant radiation schedules and chemotherapy regimens following pleurectomy.
      • Mattson K.
      • Holsti L.R.
      • Tammilehto L.
      • et al.
      Multimodality treatment programs for malignant pleural mesothelioma using high-dose hemithorax irradiation.
      The median survival was 8 months and the 2-year survival was 20%. They found no difference among the groups.
      In a more recent study, Lee and colleagues from University of California, San Francisco reported their experience with 32 patient who had undergone P/D with intraoperative radiotherapy followed by external beam radiation.
      • Lee T.T.
      • Everett D.L.
      • Shu H.K.
      • et al.
      Radical pleurectomy/decortication and intra-operative radiotherapy followed by conformal radiation with or without chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      Some patients received chemotherapy as well. The median survival of the 26 patients who underwent the planned treatment was 18.1 months. Not included in the analysis are the three patients who had unresectable disease, one patient with recurrent disease, and two patients who had early postoperative deaths.
      In patients deemed unfit for EPP who get P/D at MSKCC, our current practice is to give adjuvant external beam radiation therapy.

      P/D with Intrapleural and/or Systemic Chemotherapy

      Rusch and colleagues from MSKCC evaluated P/D followed by intrapleural cisplatin and mitomycin followed by systemic cisplatin and mitomycin given 3 to 5 weeks postoperatively.
      • Rusch V.W.
      • Saltz L.
      • Venkatraman E.
      • et al.
      A phase II trial of pleurectomy/decortication followed by intrapleural and systemic chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      There were 28 patients who underwent P/D and received intrapleural chemotherapy. There was one postoperative death and two patients who developed grade 4 nephrotoxicity. The median survival was 18 months and significant morbidity was present in 53% of patients. Local failure was high with 16 local relapses in 27 patients. The authors were concerned about the potential for serious toxicity.
      Rice and coworkers studied 19 patients who had EPP (n = 10) or P/D (n = 9) followed by intrapleural administration of cisplatin and mitomycin in patients with stage I MPM.
      • Rice T.W.
      • Adelstein D.J.
      • Kirby T.J.
      • et al.
      Aggressive multimodality therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      The median survival was 13 months and the treatment-related mortality was 5%.
      A group from UCLA reported their results of 15 patients who underwent P/D followed by intrapleural cisplatin and cytarabine.
      • Lee J.D.
      • Perez S.
      • Wang H.J.
      • et al.
      Intrapleural chemotherapy for patients with incompletely resected malignant mesothelioma the UCLA experience.
      The median survival was 11.5 months with no treatment-related mortality. A similar study was reported by an Italian group who added systemic chemotherapy to the same regimen of P/D and intrapleural chemotherapy.
      • Colleoni M.
      • Sartori F.
      • Calabro F.
      • et al.
      Surgery followed by intracavitary plus systemic chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      Their 20 patients also had an 11.5-month median survival.
      A group from Turkey reported on 20 patients who had P/D followed by systemic chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin, mitomycin, and α-interferon immunotherapy.
      • Hastürk S.
      • Tastepe I.
      • Unlu M.
      • et al.
      Combined chemotherapy in pleurectomized malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.
      The median survival was 12 months and the regimen was well tolerated.
      In a more recent study, Ceresoli and colleagues from Italy retrospectively reviewed their experience with MPM and noted that the 16 patients that had P/D followed by chemotherapy did better than patients who received P/D or chemotherapy alone.
      • Cresoli G.L.
      • Locati L.
      • Ferreri A.J.
      • et al.
      Therapeutic outcome according to histologic subtype in 121 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      The median survivals were 14 months in the combined treatment group, 12 months in the surgery alone group, and 8 months in the chemotherapy alone group. In univariate analysis treatment modality had independent prognostic value.
      The search for effective therapies to achieve local control in MPM has sparked interest in a number of areas. Hyperthermia has been investigated in combination with surgery. Carry and coworkers reported the results of three patients with MPM who were given hyperthermic intrapleural mitomycin at 42.6°C following P/D for 60 minutes.
      • Carry P.Y.
      • Brachet A.
      • Gilly F.N.
      • et al.
      A new device for the treatment of pleural malignancies intrapleural chemohyperthermia preliminary report.
      The technique was deemed safe.
      In a similar design, Ratto and coworkers gave hyperthermic cisplatin (41.5°C) for 60 minutes following P/D (three patients) or EPP (four patients).
      • Ratto G.B.
      • Civalleri D.
      • Esposito M.
      • et al.
      Pleural space perfusion with cisplatin in the multimodality treatment of malignant mesothelioma a feasibility and pharmacokinetic study.
      Patients also received 55 Gy to chest wall incisions. There was no death or toxicity and the treatment was well tolerated. An interesting finding was that systemic cisplatin levels were significantly higher in the group that had P/D, indicating that the remaining lung plays an important role in the absorption of intrapleural cisplatin.
      A group from the Netherlands studied the use of intrapleural hyperthermic (40 to 41°C) cisplatin and doxorubicin following P/D.
      • de Bree E.
      • van Ruth S.
      • Baas P.
      • et al.
      Cytoreductive surgery and intraoperative hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma or pleural metastases of thymoma.
      There was considerable toxicity with morbidity reported in 47% of patients. The 11 patients had a median survival of 8 months. This group used the same protocol for advanced thymoma patients.
      In a dose escalation study, Sugarbaker and colleagues performed P/D on 44 patients followed by intraperitoneal and ipsilateral hemithoracic lavage with cisplatin at 42°C.
      • Sugarbaker D.
      • Richards W.G.
      • Zellos L.S.
      • et al.
      Feasibility of pleurectomy and intraoperative bicavitary hyperthermic cisplatin lavage for mesothelioma a phase I-II study.
      They reported postoperative mortality of 11% and median survival of 9 months.

      P/D and Photodynamic Therapy

      Several studies evaluated the use of photodynamic therapy (PDT), a new modality used to enhance local control.
      • Pass H.I.
      • Temeck B.K.
      • Kranda K.
      • et al.
      Phase III randomized trial of surgery with or without intraoperative photodynamic therapy and postoperative immunochemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      • Moskal T.L.
      • Dougherty T.J.
      • Urschel J.D.
      • et al.
      Operation and photodynamic therapy for pleural mesothelioma 6-year follow-up.
      A photosensitizer is administered systemically and then target areas are illuminated with laser to affect cell kill. Moskal and coworkers from Roswell Park reported their series of 40 patients who had been treated with EPP (n = 7), P/D (n = 28), or P/D with lobectomy (n = 5) followed by PDT.
      • Moskal T.L.
      • Dougherty T.J.
      • Urschel J.D.
      • et al.
      Operation and photodynamic therapy for pleural mesothelioma 6-year follow-up.
      Mortality was 6.5%, with two of the deaths in the EPP group. Serious complications arose in 48.3% of patients. The median survival was 15 months.
      Pass and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health performed a randomized study of surgical resection, postoperative cisplatin, interferon, and tamoxifen with or without PDT.
      • Pass H.I.
      • Temeck B.K.
      • Kranda K.
      • et al.
      Phase III randomized trial of surgery with or without intraoperative photodynamic therapy and postoperative immunochemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
      Twenty-five patients received PDT (11 P/D and 14 EPP) and 23 patients did not (12 P/D and 11 EPP). The groups were similar and no survival difference was noted. Median survivals in the PDT group and non-PDT group were 14.4 and 14.1 months, respectively. The conclusion was that there was no value of first-generation PDT when added to multimodality therapy. Further studies with newer photosensitizers and increasing light doses are ongoing.

      Conclusions

      The role of surgery in the management of MPM remains controversial. The range of goals of surgery include diagnosis, palliation of symptoms, debulking of tumor, and possibly cure. All these goals have been cited at one time or another by one group of surgeons or another as the main focus of their particular surgical intervention. The major approaches in the armamentarium of the mesothelioma surgeon are thoracoscopy for biopsy and pleurodesis, partial pleurectomy, radical pleurectomy and decortication, and extrapleural pneumonectomy. With no set standards of care or overwhelming evidence to guide the thoracic surgeon, a fair amount of clinical judgment and a frank discussion of goals with the patient and other members of the health care team are required to formulate a comprehensive treatment plan. However, it is clear that a multimodality approach is required.

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