DMPM (diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that affects the lining of the abdominal cavity. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, and unfortunately, it is often diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment options are limited. The standard treatment for DMPM is a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation therapy. However, there are other treatment options that may be considered depending on the patient’s individual case.
Cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)
Cytoreductive surgery involves removing as much of the visible tumors as possible. This is typically followed by HIPEC, which involves heating a chemotherapy solution and circulating it through the abdominal cavity for up to 90 minutes to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Studies have shown that cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC can significantly improve survival rates for patients with DMPM. However, this procedure is complex and carries a high risk of complications, so it may not be appropriate for all patients.
Systemic chemotherapy involves administering chemotherapy drugs intravenously or orally to kill cancer cells throughout the body. This treatment may be used in combination with surgery or alone if surgery is not possible.
The most commonly used chemotherapy drugs for DMPM are cisplatin and pemetrexed. While systemic chemotherapy has been shown to have some benefit in treating DMPM, its effectiveness is limited due to the difficulty of getting the drugs to the peritoneal cavity where the cancer is located.
Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that helps the body’s immune system recognize and attack cancer cells. It has shown promise in treating other types of cancers, and there are ongoing clinical trials to investigate its effectiveness in DMPM.
One type of immunotherapy that has been used in DMPM is checkpoint inhibitors, which block proteins that cancer cells use to evade the immune system. While this treatment has shown some promise, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in DMPM.
Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs to target specific proteins or genes that are involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. There are currently no targeted therapies approved specifically for DMPM, but there are ongoing clinical trials investigating their effectiveness in this type of cancer.
Palliative care is a type of care that is focused on relieving symptoms and improving quality of life for patients with advanced cancer. It may involve medications, such as pain relievers, or other supportive measures, such as nutritional support or counseling.
While palliative care is not a treatment that can cure DMPM, it is an important part of care for patients with advanced cancer, as it can help manage symptoms and improve overall well-being.
In summary, DMPM is a difficult cancer to treat, and the standard treatment of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC may not be appropriate for all patients. Other treatment options, such as systemic chemotherapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and palliative care, may be considered depending on the patient’s individual case. It is important for patients to discuss all treatment options with their healthcare team to determine the best course of action for their specific situation.