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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New staging of mesothelioma tumors may predict outcome

A recent study indicates that a new physician staging processes by weight and volume of mesothelioma tumors may be helpful in predicting outcome. Mesothelioma is a fatal rare tumor and almost always associated with exposure to asbestos fibers. The development of mesothelioma commonly is diagnosed decades after the initial exposure to asbestos fiber.

Today's post is shared from and reports a significant development in the treatment of the disease.

A new study suggests that significant improvements could be made in the scoring system physicians use to estimate the stage (severity) of mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly cancer.

The current scoring system incorporates such factors as the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. The study's findings suggest that, in addition, tumor weight and volume "may be valuable components for staging malignant pleural mesothelioma."

An improved scoring system could provide a more accurate prognosis and help guide treatment, said lead author Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, MBA, who now is at Loyola University Medical Center and Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Dr. Vigneswaran has performed nearly 200 mesothelioma surgeries, and he is among only a handful of surgeons nationwide who treat mesothelioma surgically.

The study is published in the European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg (2016)doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezv422 First published online: January 21, 2016

Mesothelioma occurs in the layer of tissue that covers internal organs. The most common type, malignant pleural mesothelioma, affects the tissue that surrounds the lungs (pleural).

Staging a malignancy is an important prognostic tool and plays a fundamental role in patient management. The current classification system, known as tumor/node/metastasis (TNM), considers the size and extent of the tumor, the amount of spread to nearby lymph nodes and whether there has been metastasis (spread of cancer to other parts of the body).

CT scans and MRIs used to determine TNM staging are more precise in measuring discrete tumors such as those in lung cancer. But TNM is less precise in staging mesothelioma, which is diffuse, varies in thickness and has a similar density to surrounding tissues. So Dr. Vigneswaran and colleagues examined whether measuring tumor volume also could predict outcomes.

Click here to read the complete article.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.