Mesothelioma Top 10
Please click on each question for more detailed information:
- Does boosting the immune system (using new agents such as PD-1 or PD-L1) improve response and survival rates for mesothelioma patients?
- Can individualised chemotherapy be given to mesothelioma patients based on predictive factors (e.g. the subtype of mesothelioma (epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or mixed), or thymidine synthase inhibitor status (the protein that drugs like pemetrexed act against), etc)?
- What is the best way to monitor patients with diffuse pleural thickening and a negative biopsy who are considered to have a high risk of developing mesothelioma (e.g. repeat biopsies, imaging, etc)?
- In mesothelioma patients, what is the best second line treatment (i.e. what chemotherapy drugs should be used if a cancer has recurred following first line chemotherapy, usually with cisplatin and pemetrexed)?
- Which is the most effective current treatment for ascites (excessive accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity) (e.g. denver shunt, pleurex catheter, etc) in patients with peritoneal mesothelioma?
- What are the relative benefits of immediate standard chemotherapy compared to a watch and wait policy for mesothelioma patients?
- For mesothelioma patients, what is the best follow-up strategy post-treatment, to identify and treat emerging side effects and other problems?
- In mesothelioma, is there a role for intrapleural immunostimmulants (a drug designed to stimulate an anti-cancer immune response, such as corynebacterium parvum extract) in addition to any other treatment?
- Does an annual chest x-ray and/or CT scan and medical examination in high-risk occupations (e.g. carpenters, plumbers, electricians, shipyard workers) lead to earlier diagnosis of mesothelioma?
- What, if any, are the benefits of pleurectomy (pleurectomy/decortication) compared to no surgery, and which mesothelioma patients might benefit?
In addition to the Top 10, the workshop participants requested that the following three questions also receive a special mention for their importance:
- Can PET-CT scans (which produce 3D images of the inside of the body) help to diagnose mesothelioma (as well as aiding the assessment of response to treatment)?
- How can the levels of mesothelin (a protein present in mesothelioma cells that can be measured in the blood) best be incorporated in the diagnosis, response and progression of mesothelioma?
- What is the best current treatment for breathlessness in mesothelioma patients (e.g. exercise, handheld fans, etc)?
The following questions were also discussed and put in order of priority at the workshop:
- Is giving a course of chemotherapy to mesothelioma patients before or after surgery beneficial?
- What is the best current method of managing mesothelioma patients with chronic recurrent pleural effusions (e.g. tunnelled indwelling drain vs pleurodesis and repeated pleural tap)?
- Should treatment for mesothelioma, if the patient has no symptoms, be given immediately or delayed?
- Is giving a course of radiotherapy to mesothelioma patients (especially new techniques such as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy) before or after surgery beneficial?
- Is giving a course of radiotherapy to mesothelioma patients (especially new techniques such as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy) before or after chemotherapy beneficial?
- Would early referral to palliative care be beneficial for mesothelioma patients?
- What is the value of weekly telephone support for mesothelioma patients during chemotherapy in reducing hospital admissions, side effects and anxiety?
- What is the current best method (e.g. contrast enhanced MRI vs PET) to accurately assess disease progression in mesothelioma patients?
- Can rehabilitation be used to improve long term chronic side effects in mesothelioma patients (especially following surgery) - e.g. the use of a comprehensive cancer rehabilitation team of health care professionals?
- Is there an overall benefit for standard chemotherapy in terms of QALYS (Quality Adjusted Life Years, a measurement that combines survival and quality of life) compared to supportive care alone, for mesothelioma patients?
- Should radiotherapy be given to mesothelioma patients at the incision site (as a result of surgery or thoracoscopy) to stop cancer cells spreading?
- What, if any, are the benefits of palliative surgery (partial pleurectomy / surgical debulking) for mesothelioma patients?
- Should interventions (e.g. cordotomy or radiotherapy) be used to control severe pain after surgical interventions for mesothelioma such as biopsy, VATS, pleurodesis, etc?
- What is the best current treatment for fatigue in mesothelioma patients (e.g. drug interventions)?
- What is the best way to monitor patients with pleural plaques (e.g. CT scan) for development of mesothelioma?
- In mesothelioma patients, what is the best current treatment for sweating (e.g. Cox2 inhibitors)?
- What is the best treatment to alleviate mucus in mesothelioma patients (e.g. steam inhalation, carbocisteine, physiotherapy, etc)?
For full details of all of the questions identified by this PSP, please see the document below.