Mesothelioma Remission and Recurrence

Mesothelioma remission occurs when there is no longer any visible trace of cancer in the body. Although it is rare, some patients have reached short-term or long-term mesothelioma remission through multiple treatments. These periods of remission give hope to mesothelioma patients, who may go on to lead active lifestyles without the need for continued treatment.

Written and Fact-Checked by: Laura Wright

Can Mesothelioma Go Into Remission?

A doctor points to a tablet while speaking to an older male patient

Yes. Although it is rare, many patients have achieved long-term remission despite being given a poor health outlook (mesothelioma prognosis) at first.

Remission is a term doctors use to describe how much a patient’s cancer symptoms have decreased or disappeared. Patients with malignant mesothelioma can reach remission when they show no visible signs of cancer, also known as No Evidence of Disease (NED).

For patients who are eligible for life-extending treatment, the ultimate goal is full mesothelioma remission.

Both malignant pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma patients may be able to reach remission.

The odds of achieving remission are higher if the cancer is caught before it can spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body. In fact, there are mesothelioma remission cases in which patients have had NED for 20 years or longer.

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Mesothelioma Remission vs. Mesothelioma Recurrence

Mesothelioma recurrence occurs when signs of cancer return after the patient has achieved full or partial remission. Mesothelioma recurrence can happen months or even years after remission.

“When cancer comes back after treatment, doctors call it a recurrence or recurrent cancer.”
—National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Doctors typically treat patients in full or partial mesothelioma remission as though they have a chronic illness due to the risk of recurrence.

Patients in remission should attend regular follow-up appointments and watch for any symptoms of mesothelioma recurrence. This can help treat recurrence early if it does occur.

In cases of local mesothelioma recurrence, signs of cancer reappear in the same area where they first began, whether in the lining of the lungs (pleura), abdomen (peritoneum), heart (pericardium), or testicles (tunica vaginalis).

Other times, signs of cancer may show up in another area of the body. This is known as distant mesothelioma recurrence.

Even if a patient experiences a recurrence of mesothelioma, it is possible to enter remission again.

Types of Mesothelioma Remission

There are two types of mesothelioma remission: full and partial. Learn more about the types of remission below.

Full Mesothelioma Remission

Full remission occurs when all symptoms and signs of cancer in the body are gone. Full mesothelioma remission is also known as complete response.

Full mesothelioma remission rates are very low. That said, some patients who qualify for treatment do go on to achieve full remission and can live cancer-free for years.

It is important to note that complete mesothelioma remission is not a cure. There’s always a chance of recurrence, since there may still be some microscopic cancer cells in the body after treatment.

Did You Know?

An average of 12% of patients with peritoneal mesothelioma who are treated with surgery and chemotherapy are able to achieve complete remission, according to a 2021 analysis published in Surgical Oncology & Clinical Practice Journal.

Partial Mesothelioma Remission

Partial remission occurs when a patient’s mesothelioma has significantly improved but has not completely disappeared.

Patients who achieve partial mesothelioma remission may experience fewer symptoms and an improved quality of life.

A mesothelioma specialist can provide you with more information on partial and complete remission tailored to your specific diagnosis.

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Treatments That Can Promote Mesothelioma Remission

Full or partial remission may be achieved through mesothelioma treatment.

The overall goals of mesothelioma treatment are to reduce the presence of cancer in the body, ease symptoms, and potentially improve life expectancy through remission.

Each patient’s case is unique. Some patients respond better to certain treatments than others and have greater chances of achieving remission.

Mesothelioma remission has even been achieved spontaneously without treatment playing a major role, though very few cases of this have been published in medical journals.

Mesothelioma Treatment Video Thumbnail

Registered Nurse Amy Fair discusses standard mesothelioma treatments and how patients can pick the best option. Call (866) 608-8933 today to connect with Amy and get your medical questions answered. View Transcript.

Duration: 2 min 01 sec

What do I need to know about mesothelioma treatments?

It’s really important for your doctors, your oncologists, your surgeons to explain to you what stage you’re in – to explain to you what type of mesothelioma you have. You have to understand your disease, you have to understand the type of disease, and you have to understand the stage of the disease. Many people have to make decisions as far as quality and quantity of life.

What are my treatment options for mesothelioma?

The standard treatment options for mesothelioma is a surgical approach. In pleural mesothelioma, they will offer the patient a pleural decortication where they strip the lining of the lung. They may offer to the patient a pneumonectomy and that is removing the whole lung, not just the lining. They may offer radiation to shrink the tumor first. Also, radiation gives them palliative care if that tumor is pressing on vital organs or nerves and causing pain, they may want to go in and do radiation first to shrink that tumor. Then of course there is the chemotherapy approach, and again sometimes multiple modalities are used. Surgical approach, radiation, and chemotherapy. It is a clinical individual fit for that particular person.

How can I decide what treatment is best for me?

When deciding what treatment modality is best for you it’s important to communicate with your surgeon, to communicate with your oncologist. You need to get an understanding on their thoughts if you’re a candidate for chemotherapy. Are you a candidate to have surgery? Although all that is very important, the individual decision for what type of therapy lies within the mesothelioma patient.

Learn more about treatment options that may lead to mesothelioma remission below.


Doctor with a tablet speaking to an elderly male patient about surgeries that could help him achieve mesothelioma remission

Surgery is arguably the best option to achieve mesothelioma remission. During surgery, the surgeon will remove visible mesothelioma tumors.

Patients diagnosed with stage 1 or stage 2 mesothelioma are often eligible for life-extending surgical procedures that could possibly lead to remission. In these early stages, the cancer hasn’t spread very far and is easier to remove.

Some common mesothelioma surgeries include:

  • Cytoreduction with HIPEC: Peritoneal mesothelioma surgery to remove the cancerous lining of the abdomen and any surrounding tumors. The surgery site is then bathed in heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) to kill leftover cells not removed throughsurgery.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP): Pleural mesothelioma surgery to remove the cancerous lung and any nearby tissue. This is often combined with chemotherapy to make remission more likely.
  • Pleurectomy with decortication (P/D): Pleural mesothelioma surgery to remove the cancerous pleura and any mesothelioma tumors on the surface of the lung. Neither lung is removed, unlike in an EPP. Surgeons often combine the P/D with radiation to destroy remaining mesothelioma cells.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a specialist can determine if you’re eligible for any surgeries that could help you achieve remission. Use our Free Doctor Match to find top specialists in your area.

Multimodal Therapy

Although individual treatment methods can help some patients achieve remission, many mesothelioma specialists use multimodal therapy for best results.

Multimodal therapy is the combination of more than one type of treatment and has been found to improve mesothelioma survival rates and quality of life for patients.

Treatments used to achieve mesothelioma remission in multimodal therapy include:

Patients with early-stage mesothelioma are usually the best candidates for this type of multipronged treatment approach.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are conducted by researchers to test new cancer treatments and improve existing ones. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees all clinical trials and examines the safety and efficacy of each treatment being tested to determine if it should be made available to the public.

Patients who enroll in clinical trials may be able to reach mesothelioma remission if they receive the treatment being tested (versus a placebo) and their cancer responds favorably to it.

Our Patient Advocates are here to help you find mesothelioma clinical trials and other treatments that may promote remission. Call (866) 608-8933 today to get started.

Survivors Who Have Achieved Mesothelioma Remission

Mike with his wife and baby
Nine-year pleural mesothelioma survivor Mike with his wife and daughter

There are inspiring stories of patients who have achieved mesothelioma remission and outlived their life expectancies. These patients are considered mesothelioma survivors.

One example is Mike, who was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2011 but entered an extended period of remission before ultimately losing his cancer battle in 2020.

The medical community hopes that with continued research and treatment advances, more mesothelioma patients will live longer and achieve long-term remission.

How to Improve Your Chances of Mesothelioma Remission

Besides seeking treatment, there are several steps you can take to help your body fight cancer and work toward mesothelioma remission. Learn how you can boost the likelihood of mesothelioma remission below.

Stay in Good Health

While patients cannot change certain factors such as their age or the type of mesothelioma they have, they can improve their overall health by exercising, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

If cleared by your physician, start an exercise plan. Physical activity can ease pain, stiffness, fatigue, and other potential side effects of treatment. Even gentle, light exercise like walks and yoga may help you sleep better and feel less stressed.

See a Mesothelioma Specialist

Mesothelioma is a very rare type of cancer, and the only known cause is asbestos exposure. Because of this, it is important to see an oncologist (cancer doctor) who has experience diagnosing and treating patients with mesothelioma.

By getting treatments from a mesothelioma doctor, your life expectancy could be improved and you have a better chance of achieving mesothelioma remission.

Explore Emerging Therapies

It’s always worth asking your care team if you qualify for any newer or emerging treatments like immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

Did You Know?

A 2021 study conducted by MD Anderson Cancer Center found that 40% of peritoneal mesothelioma patients achieved partial or complete remission after being treated with a combination of the immunotherapy drugs atezolizumab (TECENTRIQ®) and bevacizumab (Avastin®).

Immunotherapy and other cutting-edge treatments may help to reduce the size of mesothelioma tumors, alleviate symptoms, and even put your cancer into remission.

However, it is important to discuss these options with a doctor who specializes in mesothelioma to determine the best treatment for you.

Use our Free Doctor Match if you need help finding a specialist in your area.

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Get Help Achieving Mesothelioma Remission

Although mesothelioma often has a poor health outlook since it’s a very aggressive disease, patients may be able to improve their life expectancy and reach remission.

There are many treatment options available to mesothelioma patients at world-renowned cancer centers to help them reach mesothelioma remission.

Treatment options such as chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy can help patients achieve partial or full mesothelioma remission. These treatments may also help if mesothelioma recurrence happens.

To find potentially life-extending treatment from a top specialist, try our Mesothelioma Doctor Match today or contact our Patient Advocates at (866) 608-8933.

Mesothelioma Remission and Recurrence FAQs

Does mesothelioma go into remission?

Yes, in some cases. Some patients can reach full or partial mesothelioma remission with the help of cancer treatment.

The goal of a curative (potentially life-extending) mesothelioma treatment plan is to help patients reach No Evidence of Disease (NED) or slow the growth of cancer if possible.

Treatment plans can also be adjusted or updated if a patient experiences a mesothelioma recurrence.

Who is the longest survivor of mesothelioma?

Paul Kraus is currently the world’s longest-living mesothelioma survivor. Paul was diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma in 1997.

Paul also survived the Holocaust and several other bouts of cancer, including a large brain tumor.

Does mesothelioma always come back?

No, mesothelioma does not always come back. However, it is important to note that this cancer typically has a poor prognosis, and the chances of mesothelioma recurrence are high.

This is why it’s so important for patients to receive regular follow-up care after mesothelioma treatments to ensure their cancer has not returned.

Can stage 4 mesothelioma go into remission?

Yes, it is possible though very rare. In 2019, a medical journal reported on the case of a 53-year-old man with stage 4 malignant pleural mesothelioma who reached remission in 5 months of treatment with an experimental medication.

Since most cases of stage 4 mesothelioma are considered terminal, palliative care to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life is typically the most appropriate course of action.

Written by:

Lead Editor

Laura Wright is a journalist and content strategist with more than 15 years of professional experience. She attended college at the University of Florida, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2008. Her writing has been featured in The Gainesville Sun and other regional publications throughout Florida.

6 References
  1. American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Managing cancer as a chronic illness. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

  2. Firsov IS, Sivov IG, Ingenik LLC (2019) Remission in the Patient with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Case Report. J Clin Case Rep 9: 1214. doi: 10.4172/2165-7920.10001214

  3. Lau, B., Kumar, S., Yan, T., & Et al. (2017, September). Pathological complete response in malignant pleural mesothelioma patients following induction chemotherapy: Predictive factors and outcomes. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

  4. Penn Medicine Abramson Cancer Center. (n.d.). Prognosis. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

  5. Rog, C., Reiter, S., Ong, E., & Alassas, M. (2020, March 16). A Rare Case of Peritoneal Mesothelioma with Complete Pathological Response after Treatment with Pemetrexed/Cisplatin and Cytoreductive Surgery with HIPEC. Retrieved March 14, 2023,  from

  6. University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. “Drug combination shows meaningful responses for malignant peritoneal mesothelioma patient: Study shows 40% objective response rate for rare cancer with few treatment options.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2021. <>.

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