Undergoing pleurectomy and decortication (PD) for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) generally leads to improved quality of life after the surgery.1 These findings were presented at the 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting.

Many patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma avoid the operation because they fear it will degrade their quality of life. The disease is caused by environmental factors such as asbestos exposure and by a genetic predisposition to the cancer.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma develops in the pleura, the thin layer of tissue surrounding the lungs. As the tumor grows, it restricts the lungs, typically causing shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, and/or chest discomfort and pain. Pleurectomy and decortication involves removal of the pleura. Although the procedure cannot cure mesothelioma, it can help control the buildup of fluid, improve breathing, and lessen cancer pain.

Continue Reading

The researchers who conducted this study, led by Wickii Vigneswaran, MD, of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, administered a cancer quality-of-life survey known as the EORTC QLQ-C30 to 114 patients with mesothelioma who underwent the PD procedure. Median age of the patients was 70 years; range, 50 to 88 years.

Prior to surgery, 31% of the patients had a performance status score of 0 (fully functional); 65% had a performance status score of 1 (able to do light house work or office work); and 4% had a performance status of 2 (ambulatory and capable of self-care, but unable to work). Following surgery, all patients were surveyed at 1 month, 4-5 months, 7-8 months, and 10-11 months.

All patients reported improved quality of life at the 1-month survey that was maintained at late follow-up. Quality of life was not adversely affected by the procedure at any time in patients who, prior to surgery, had performance status of 1 or 2, a tumor volume greater than 600 ml, or a nonepithelioid tumor type.

“The net benefit of pleurectomy and decortication justifies the procedure in the majority of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma,” Vigneswaran concluded.


1. Vigneswara WT, Kircheva D, Patino D, et al. Quality of life in patients undergoing pleurectomy and decortication for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Presentation at: 2016 American Society of Clinical Oncologists Annual Meeting; June 3-7, 2016; Chicago, IL. Abstract 8556.