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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1984 Mar;10(3):325-31.

Pleurectomy and intraoperative brachytherapy and postoperative radiation in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.


Forty-one patients with diffuse, pleural mesothelioma limited to one hemi-thorax underwent a thoracotomy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center from January 1976 to July 1982. Treatment at thoracotomy consisted of as complete a parietal pleurectomy as was possible to remove the bulk of the tumor. Measurable gross residual disease was treated whenever feasible, with permanent 125I implantation; residual diffuse disease was treated by a temporary 192Ir implantation or by postoperative instillation of 32P. External radiation therapy was given 4-6 weeks postoperatively to the involved hemi-thorax, shielding the lung and utilizing a combination of electron and a photon beam. A dose of 4500 rad in 4.5 weeks was given to the pleural surface by the mixed beam. There was no postoperative mortality in this group of 41 patients. Complications developed in 6 patients (15%). The median survival was 21 months; the one year survival was 65% and the two year survival was 40%. The median disease-free survival was 11 months and the one and two year disease-free survival 44 and 13% respectively. This study suggests that the combination of pleurectomy, intraoperative brachytherapy and postoperative external radiation increased the local control of the tumor and prolonged the survival.

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