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Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy Followed By Extrapleural Pneumonectomy In Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Walter Weder, Peter Kestenholz, Christian Taverna, Stefan Bodis, Didier Lardinois, Monika Jerman, Rolf A. Stahel

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PurposeTo investigate neoadjuvant chemotherapy with cisplatin and gemcitabine followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy with or without radiation therapy in patients with potentially resectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).Patients and MethodsEligible patients had MPM with clinical stage T1-3, N0-2, M0 disease considered to be completely resectable and a WHO performance status of 0 to 2. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy consisted of three cycles of cisplatin 80 mg/m2on day 1 and gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m2on days 1, 8, and 15, given every 28 days. Surgery had to consist of a complete extrapleural pneumonectomy, including resection of pericardium and diaphragm. Postoperative radiotherapy was to be considered for all patients.ResultsNineteen patients with MPM were included in this pilot study. According to the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer prognostic score, two patients were in the good prognosis group, and 17 patients were in the poor prognosis group. The response rate to neoadjuvant chemotherapy was 32%. The major toxicity was thrombocytopenia. Extrapleural pneumonectomy was performed in 16 patients with no perioperative mortality. Major surgical complications occurred in six patients, and all were treated successfully. Thirteen patients received postoperative radiotherapy. The median survival time was 23 months. Two patients remain alive and free of disease 41 and 38 months after initiation of therapy.ConclusionFor patients with potentially operable MPM, the availability of active and well-tolerated chemotherapy regimens, the fact that extrapleural pneumonectomy can be safely performed after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in an experienced center, and the promising results regarding survival in our pilot study warrant further investigation of the role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in a multimodality strategy.