Advanced Radiotherapy: New Hope For Mesothelioma Sufferers?


New radiotherapy methods could completely stop the growth of mesothelioma cancer cells, according to a new Australian study.

The University of Melbourne analysed outcomes for 24 mesothelioma patients who were treated with different types of radiotherapy following surgery. The study team found that a new and more precise method of radiotherapy might better control mesothelioma tumour growth.

Radiotherapy treatment for mesothelioma

Whilst post-treatment PET/CT scans for 14 of the patients showed signs that the mesothelioma was returning, the remaining 10 did not. And for 2 patients, the radiotherapy appeared to have stopped the cancer from spreading altogether, with no further tumour growth.

In addition, there were no serious toxicities related to either of the 2 methods of radiology - intensity-modulated and three-dimensional conformal - with which the patients were treated.

Caused by exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma is a fast-growing cancer that affects the lining encasing the heart and lungs. Although radiotherapy is often used to keep the disease from spreading, certain types of the treatment have caused problems if a tumour is especially close to vital organs.

Emma Costin, Head of Industrial Disease for Simpson Millar LLP, is encouraged by the Australian findings. "Anyone suffering from mesothelioma or who might have been exposed to it will welcome the results of the Australian study," she says, adding, "Occurrences of the disease are still increasing year on year and this is expected to continue until the end of the decade before numbers stabilise and start to decline. Conventional therapies and treatments have offered limited success and there has been no vaccine or cure. This new research is a rare piece of good news for the many thousands who have been, and still are, exposed to asbestos dust."

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