6 things you need to be aware of about peritoneal mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma is an uncommon and deadly cancer that is affecting the abdominal lining also known as the peritoneum. While these cancers have been treated in the past similar to each other there are several variations between peritoneal and Pleural mesothelioma which is the most common type of mesothelioma that’s found within the lining of the lung. Because the signs of mesothelioma in the peritoneal region typically subtle, the disease is often diagnosed at the time it’s diagnosed.

We spoke to an gastrointestinal Medical Oncologist Kanwal Raghav M.D., to find out the characteristics that set this rare cancer apart, and how we are progressing in the treatment of the cancer.

How common is mesothelioma peritoneal?

Around 3,000 new mesothelioma cases are discovered every year in the U.S., and only around 300-500 of them are peritoneal. At MD Anderson, we have an extensive program for mesothelioma peritoneal and see between 50-60 new patients each year.

Who is most at-risk of developing mesothelioma of the peritoneum?

Asbestos exposure is frequently connected with mesothelioma as it’s the most significant risk for pleural mesothelioma and occurs in approximately 80-90 percent of cases where mesothelioma is found within the lining of the lung. In peritoneal mesothelioma however, asbestos is found in only around 30-40 percent of cases. We do not know the cause of the condition in a large amount of patients. The exposure to asbestos is certainly an risk factor, however, over and above that, there’s numerous unanswered questions.

Peritoneal mesothelioma can also be more prevalent in females. It’s the opposite of the situation in pleural mesothelioma. males are more likely to be affected.


Are there any prevalent symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma and how can it be diagnosed?

Peritoneal mesothelioma isn’t a cause in a lot of sufferers until they are has become advanced. Some signs to look out for include abdominal swelling or pain nausea, vomiting and bowel movements that are irregular unanswered fever, and unexplained weight loss. A biopsy is necessary for the diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma.

How is mesothelioma of the peritoneal region normally treated?

Peritoneal mesothelioma is traditionally been treated in the same manner as mesothelioma pleural. In reality, there no specific cancer treatment guidelines for mesothelioma of the peritoneal region. Patients often undergo cytoreductive surgeries and are then and then hyperthermic intraoperative perfusion of the peritoneal and chemotherapy (HIPEC), a procedure in which heated chemotherapy is injected into the abdominal cavity. If surgery is not curative, the usual treatment is chemotherapy with platinum and is often followed by third- or fourth-line chemotherapy, if required.

Have there been any advances in the treatment of mesothelioma peritoneal?

One of the challenges in treating mesothelioma peritoneal is that the drugs haven’t been specifically studied for this condition. The treatments that are commonly used are based on research conducted on patients with pleural mesothelioma. Certain Phase 1 clinical trials permit patients suffering from peritoneal mesothelioma join, however, it’s hard to draw any conclusions without a dedicated study for this type of cancer that is extremely rare.

We recently have published the outcomes from the very first Phase II trial with an individual group specifically designed to test an immunotherapy targeted therapy combination to treat of advanced mesothelioma of peritoneal origin. The results were positive and showed that the treatment combination was effective and resulted in a positive response in 40% of patients.

This was also the initial clinical study in mesothelioma peritoneal that utilized biopsies both before and during treatment to understand the disease and to identify possible biomarkers for the response to immunotherapy. Biomarkers are a type of biological molecule like an individual gene or protein expression that is detected by analysing the tumor using biopsy.

If you’re conducting an investigational trial on an uncommon cancer such as this, it’s crucial to get the most information out of the research. We demonstrated that it’s possible to conduct a research study which requires patients to undergo multiple biopsies to search for biomarkers prior to and during treatment for this extremely rare group. Our patients did not just get the benefits of receiving an effective treatment, they were also happy and eager to be a part of this study.

It is the next stage to conduct an additional clinical trial determine if this combination of treatments is efficient for patients with a new diagnosis as well as others who have not had surgery.

What other information do you wish caregivers and patients with a diagnosis of peritoneal cancer to be aware of?

We are doing our best to create clinical trials for mesothelioma of the peritoneal region. The clinical trial especially for the most rare cancers such as this, are not possible without the help of our patients and caregivers. I would like to encourage those suffering from mesothelioma peritoneal to search for an institution that offers clinical trials as early as possible in their treatment, so that we can gain knowledge about the disease and see progress

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