Pericardial mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the heart (pericardium), which is responsible for protecting and lubricating the heart. This cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos, a mineral fiber that was commonly used in building materials and other industrial products until the 1970s. Because of its rarity, there is limited research available on the success rates of surgery for pericardial mesothelioma. However, this article will provide an overview of the current understanding of the effectiveness of surgery for this disease, based on the available literature and expert opinions.
Surgery is one of the treatment options available for pericardial mesothelioma, along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The goal of surgery is to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible, in order to reduce symptoms and improve the patient’s chances of survival. However, because pericardial mesothelioma is often diagnosed at a late stage and has a tendency to spread quickly, surgery is usually considered a palliative rather than a curative treatment option. In other words, the goal of surgery is to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life, rather than to cure the cancer.
There are several surgical procedures that can be used to treat pericardial mesothelioma, depending on the extent of the disease and the patient’s overall health. These include:
Pericardiectomy: This is the most common surgical procedure for pericardial mesothelioma. It involves removing the entire pericardium, along with any visible tumors. This procedure can help to relieve symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, but it is not curative.
Epicardial resection: This procedure involves removing the outer layer of the heart (the epicardium), along with any visible tumors. It is a more aggressive surgical option than pericardiectomy, but it may be necessary for patients with more advanced disease.
Radical resection: This is the most aggressive surgical option for pericardial mesothelioma. It involves removing the entire heart, along with the pericardium and any visible tumors. This procedure is rarely performed, as it carries a high risk of complications and mortality.
The success rate of surgery for pericardial mesothelioma depends on several factors, including the stage of the disease, the patient’s overall health, and the type of surgical procedure performed. In general, surgery is more effective for early-stage disease, before the cancer has spread beyond the pericardium. However, even in early-stage disease, surgery is not curative, and the cancer is likely to recur.
According to a systematic review of the literature published in the Annals of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2018, the median survival time after pericardiectomy for pericardial mesothelioma was 14.5 months, with a 1-year survival rate of 52% and a 5-year survival rate of 11%. However, these survival rates are based on a small number of studies with a limited number of patients, and they may not be representative of the overall population of patients with pericardial mesothelioma.
Another study published in the Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery in 2019 reported a median survival time of 17.6 months after pericardiectomy for pericardial mesothelioma, with a 1-year survival rate of 64% and a 5-year survival rate of 22%. This study included a larger number of patients than the previous study and may be more representative of the overall population of patients with pericardial mesothelioma.
Despite the limitations of the available literature, it is clear that surgery can provide significant symptom relief and improve quality of life for patients with pericardial mesothelioma. However, it is unlikely to be curative, and patients should be aware of the potential risks and benefits of surgery before making a treatment decision. In addition, patients with pericardial mesothelioma should seek treatment from a multidisciplinary team of experts, including oncologists, cardiologists, and surgeons, in order to receive the most comprehensive and personalized care possible.