Both smoking and asbestos irritate the lungs. Smoking is a well-known trigger for lung cancer. Chronic exposure to smoke (smoking) causes as many as 90% of lung cancers.1
MCA Staff Writers
Presenting Up-to-Date Mesothelioma Topics
Doctors use information about each case of mesothelioma to help guide the treatment of each patient. Most commonly, doctors look at how far the mesothelioma has spread which is measured in the tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) stage and the type of tumor cell --epithelioid, biphasic, and sarcomatoid. However, even the same type of mesothelioma—epithelioid— can vary in its rate of growth or aggressiveness. Thus, other factors in mesothelioma must affect its aggressiveness.
Many chemotherapy regimens can damage nerves that serve most of the body, called peripheral nerves. This damage, technically called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotherapy (CIPN), causes pain in about 60% of chemotherapy- treated patients.1 While it often begins after the later cycles, it can linger for years.
Tumors, including mesothelioma and the deadly skin cancer melanoma, use several methods to hide from the immune system. Since mesothelioma and melanoma tumors have similar characteristics, some melanoma treatments are being tested for their efficacy on mesothelioma tumors. Many tumors express proteins that turn off the T cells that would normally kill them. Blocking that “off signal” or “checkpoint signal” is a very promising type of immunotherapy for cancer. It’s like opening the handcuffs on a person’s immune response so their immune system can kill the cancer cells.
We often discuss the results of clinical trials so let’s discuss clinical trials in more depth: who participates, what’s being tested, how clinical trials change treatment of future mesothelioma patients.
While a cure for mesothelioma does not exist currently, doctors are working tirelessly to gain a greater understanding of genetic cues that can potentially lead to a cure for mesothelioma. Understanding genetic cues, like genomic mutations, can inform doctors of how mesothelioma develops in patients, which could lead to earlier detection of the disease and creation of individualized treatments for improved prognoses for patients.
A woman came down with mesothelioma but she could not recall any obvious source for exposure to asbestos. Neither she nor any family member worked in a shipyard. No asbestos insulation was reported in her house. The roads did not contain any gravel containing asbestos fibers.
One of the major challenges of mesothelioma is early or earlier diagnosis. Mesothelioma causes pleural effusion or fluid build-up between the layers of the lining of the lung cavity in about 70% of its cases.1 About 1.5 million people are diagnosed with pleural effusion in the US each year. Since about 3000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year, most cases of pleural effusions are not due to mesothelioma. However, finding mesothelioma in the pleural effusion or pleural soup could provide an early or earlier diagnosis.