Radiation Therapy for Mesothelioma

OncoLink Team
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 7, 2013


Is radiation used to treat mesothelioma or just side effects/complications from it?


Charles B. Simone II, MD, Radiation Oncologist at Penn Medicine, responds:

Radiation therapy can be used in certain settings as potentially curative treatment in the post-operative setting. For patients that had surgery that removed the lung, radiation therapy can be used to treat the inner surfaces of that side of the chest to attempt to kill any remaining cancer cells not removed by surgery. Clinical trials are currently underway to evaluate the role of radiation therapy to an intact lung for patients who have undergone lung-sparing surgery, and it is not clear how beneficial this may be. Radiation therapy can also be targeted to the surgical incision site to prevent the cancer from recurring locally at that site. For all patients, radiation therapy can be used to treat lymph nodes in patients that have had their cancer spread to the lymph nodes adjacent to the lining of the lung. Without surgery, radiation is most often used to treat problem spots to relieve symptoms, such as pain or trouble breathing. For patients with disease limited to one side of the chest, there are a few clinics testing the use of radiation therapy to shrink tumor and improve local control for patients who have not been treated with surgery.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Focus on Mesothelioma transcript.


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