Small cell mesothelioma is a rare subtype of mesothelioma, a cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. Small cell mesothelioma accounts for less than 5% of all mesothelioma cases, and it is considered an aggressive form of the disease. As a result, treatment options for small cell mesothelioma are limited, and the prognosis is generally poor.
The standard treatment approach for small cell mesothelioma is based on the treatment of small cell lung cancer, which is a similar type of cancer. The mainstay of treatment for small cell mesothelioma is chemotherapy, which involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given alone or in combination with other treatments, such as radiation therapy or surgery.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for small cell mesothelioma, and it involves the use of powerful drugs to kill cancer cells. The most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for small cell mesothelioma are cisplatin and etoposide. These drugs are typically given in combination, and the treatment is usually administered every three to four weeks for several cycles. The goal of chemotherapy is to shrink the tumor and improve symptoms, but it is not usually curative.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells. It may be used in combination with chemotherapy to improve the effectiveness of the treatment. Radiation therapy may also be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. However, small cell mesothelioma is generally not very responsive to radiation therapy, and it is not typically used as a primary treatment.
Surgery: Surgery is not typically used as a primary treatment for small cell mesothelioma because the cancer is often too advanced by the time it is diagnosed. However, if the cancer is caught early and has not spread, surgery may be an option. The most common types of surgery for small cell mesothelioma are pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) and extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP). P/D involves removing the lining of the lung and any visible tumor, while EPP involves removing the entire affected lung and surrounding tissue.
Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a relatively new type of cancer treatment that works by boosting the body’s natural immune system to fight cancer cells. It may be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiation therapy to improve the effectiveness of the treatment. However, there is currently limited data on the use of immunotherapy for small cell mesothelioma.
Clinical trials: Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments or combinations of treatments for cancer. They are an important way to evaluate new and potentially more effective treatments for small cell mesothelioma. Patients with small cell mesothelioma may be eligible to participate in clinical trials, but it is important to discuss the risks and benefits of participating with a healthcare provider.
In summary, small cell mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of mesothelioma that is difficult to treat. The standard treatment approach is based on the treatment of small cell lung cancer and involves chemotherapy as the primary treatment. Radiation therapy and surgery may also be used in certain cases. Immunotherapy and clinical trials are also potential options for patients with small cell mesothelioma. However, the prognosis for small cell mesothelioma is generally poor, and there is currently no cure for the disease.