Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of mesothelioma, making up about 10-15% of the 3,000 mesothelioma cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
This type of mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the abdomen (peritoneum), has an average life expectancy of 6-12 months without surgery, and complete remission is extremely uncommon.
Full or complete remission occurs when all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared.
Although rare, complete remission from peritoneal mesothelioma isn’t entirely unheard of. In fact, one woman diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in her 60s was recently able to achieve over 8 months of remission with chemotherapy, according to a 2023 case study published in BMJ Case Reports.
Learn how this woman’s story offers hope for other mesothelioma patients, especially those who aren’t eligible for surgery.
What Treatments Led to Peritoneal Mesothelioma Remission?
This patient received a combination of mesothelioma treatments to most effectively treat her illness and improve her prognosis (overall health outlook).
What’s so impressive about her case is that she was able to achieve remission and increase her life expectancy without the use of surgery.
For years, cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC has been considered the gold standard treatment to improve someone’s chances of long-term peritoneal mesothelioma survival. This procedure involves surgically removing visible tumors before applying hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) to the abdominal cavity to kill remaining cancer cells.
However, this patient’s case shows remission could be achievable with chemotherapy alone. Learn about each stage of her treatment journey below.
After she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, the patient was first treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy in order to shrink her tumors.
This unique type of radiation therapy uses energy beams to target cancer cells from multiple angles and has fewer side effects than traditional radiation therapy.
Unfortunately, radiation therapy had little effect on her peritoneal mesothelioma. It was also determined during this time that she wasn’t a good candidate for mesothelioma surgery because her cancer had spread too far to be safely operated on.
Because surgery wasn’t an option, the patient was stabilized and put on a combination of the chemotherapy medications pemetrexed and bevacizumab.
She received 18 rounds of chemotherapy over 13 months. At the end of treatment, she was no longer experiencing mesothelioma symptoms, and a PET/CT scan revealed no signs of disease, suggesting she had reached complete remission.
The best way to improve your chances of entering remission is by working with an experienced mesothelioma specialist. Get help finding top doctors near you by signing up for our Free Doctor Match program.
Life After Peritoneal Mesothelioma Remission
Even after a patient enters remission, they’ll continue to receive follow-up care with an oncologist or oncology team may continue for several years. This is to ensure that any new signs of cancer or of a mesothelioma recurrence are caught and addressed as early as possible.
Learn what this particular patient’s follow-up care looked like below.
The patient highlighted in this case study was placed on a treatment holiday for 8 months as part of her follow-up care.
This was done under the careful direction of her medical team while they continued to monitor her overall health.
Treatment holidays can last anywhere from a few days to several years, depending on what is recommended for the patient.
Mesothelioma doctors may also recommend diet or nutritional changes and other lifestyle modifications during this period to further improve the patient’s quality of life.
Continued Biopsies and Follow-Up Exams
The patient also had biopsies taken and attended follow-up exams to ensure that she remained cancer-free.
She will likely continue to have regular exams and biopsies for the foreseeable future, as is the case for other long-term mesothelioma survivors.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Remission May Be Possible Without Cytoreductive Surgery
This rare case of remission was not only a huge success for the patient in improving her prognosis and life expectancy, but it also proved highly informative for mesothelioma researchers.
Before this case study, it was thought that remission from peritoneal mesothelioma was only possible with cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC.
However, this patient’s response to chemotherapy alone could offer hope and new treatment approaches for other mesothelioma patients who may not be eligible for surgery.
Find Top Treatments & Resources for Peritoneal Mesothelioma
If you or a loved one is currently living with peritoneal mesothelioma or any other type of cancer or disease related to asbestos exposure, we hope this patient’s story and the stories of other mesothelioma survivors can bring you hope and inspiration.
A mesothelioma diagnosis can feel scary and overwhelming, but it may be possible to improve your mesothelioma prognosis and reach remission.