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J Thorac Oncol. 2010 Nov;5(11):1841-8. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181f1cf2b.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma: a population-based study of survival.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.



This study characterizes the overall survival (OS) and variables affecting OS in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.


A total of 9701 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, diagnosed from 1973 to 2006, were retrospectively analyzed using the population-based surveillance, epidemiology, and end results database.


The 6-month, 1-year, and 5-year OS were 55, 33, and 5%, respectively. Significantly adverse prognostic factors from univariate analyses included older age, male gender, higher tumor grade, nonepithelioid histology, higher stage, no cancer-directed surgery, and no radiotherapy. Race was not significant. Patients undergoing cancer-directed surgery and radiotherapy, when grouped by stage, histology, or grade, had the best median survival (versus radiotherapy or surgery alone or no surgery/radiotherapy). From Cox proportional hazards analyses, grade (range, 1-4) was associated with a hazard ratio (HR) of >1.5 (p < 0.0001), and not undergoing cancer-directed surgery was associated with a HR of >1.4 (p < 0.0001). Male gender and older age were also significantly adverse factors. Tumor histology (HR = 1.5) and nonlocalized stage (HR = 1.3) were significant in a Cox model omitting tumor grade. With grade and histology included in the Cox model, the HRs of histology and stage were of smaller magnitude and not significant.


From a population-based registry analysis of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, tumor grade and cancer-directed surgery seem to have the greatest impact on OS. Although being amenable to surgery likely reflects more indolent disease and/or better performance status and cardiopulmonary function, the significantly favorable impact of surgery, accounting for tumor grade, histology, and stage, may reflect a therapeutic benefit.

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