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Update On Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

N. Campbell, H. Kindler
Published 2011 · Medicine

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Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer principally attributable to asbestos. Although the incidence is now declining in the United States, it will continue to increase worldwide until all nations institute regulations limiting asbestos use and exposure. This is a heterogeneous disease, with three pathological subtypes that yield very different outcomes. Stage is less important than histology in determining prognosis. The biomarkers serum mesothelin-related peptide and osteopontin are being evaluated for screening asbestos-exposed individuals and monitoring disease response. The optimal surgical procedure remains controversial because extrapleural pneumonectomy and pleurectomy/decortication can achieve similar results. The reference chemotherapy regimen, pemetrexed-cisplatin, improves survival and quality of life. Key questions about maintenance therapy and the optimal regimens for elderly and frail patients remain to be answered. Although few other cytotoxic drugs have activity, a surprising number of novel agents are being investigated.
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