New Report Outlines Approach to Treating Peritoneal Mesothelioma

In the February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers from Columbia University reported that combined resection, intraperitoneal chemotherapy, and whole abdominal radiation therapy has shown to be an effective treatment for malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.

Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for less than 20 percent of all mesothelioma cases and its latency period is even longer than the average 20 – 40 years for those developing the more common pleural mesothelioma. Currently, notes an article on, controlled clinical trials of various treatment options are not available for peritoneal mesothelioma due to the relative rarity of this disease.

The Columbia University study involved 27 patients who had been diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen. The treatment regimen involved surgical debulking followed by four intraperitoneal courses of cisplatin alternated with four intraperitoneal courses of doxorubicin, four doses of intraperitoneal gamma interferon, a second laparotomy with resection of residual disease plus intraoperative hyperthermic administration of intraperitoneal mitomycin, and cisplatin followed by whole abdominal radiation therapy.

The authors of the study reported a median survival of 70 months and a three-year survival of 67 percent. They also reported that seven patients were alive without evidence of disease at a median of 17 months. The results prompted the researchers to conclude that intensive multimodality therapy was effective for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

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