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Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment

One of the best peritoneal mesothelioma treatments is a combination of cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). This treatment helps patients live for 53 months on average. Other treatments include systemic chemotherapy, radiation, and emerging therapies accessed through clinical trials. Mesothelioma Hope can help you find the best peritoneal mesothelioma treatments right now.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

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What Is the Treatment for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Cancer?

Doctors typically treat peritoneal mesothelioma by removing or shrinking tumors found in the abdominal lining (peritoneum), where this cancer forms.

An illustration shows mesothelioma in the lining of the abdomen (also known as the peritoneum)
Illustration of peritoneal mesothelioma in the abdominal lining

Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment options include:

  • Cytoreduction with HIPEC, where doctors combine surgery and heated chemotherapy to destroy cancer. This is arguably the most effective treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma and can help patients live for many years.
  • Chemotherapy drugs that circulate through the body to kill cancer cells if doctors can’t use surgery.
  • Immunotherapy, which is available through clinical trials and uses medications to boost the immune system and attack malignant mesothelial cells.
  • Radiation therapy, where beams of energy are used to shrink tumors.
  • Palliative care, where surgical procedures, alternative therapies, and medications are used to ease symptoms and improve quality of life.

Which malignant peritoneal mesothelioma treatments you qualify for will depend on cancer spread, your overall health, and other factors. Doctors who treat mesothelioma can determine which therapies will work best for you.

Key Facts on Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment

  • Life-extending treatment options: Cytoreduction with HIPEC, systemic chemotherapy, and sometimes radiation or immunotherapy
  • Palliative treatments: Paracentesis, catheters, medications, and more
  • Life expectancy after treatment: 53 months (nearly 4.5 years) on average
  • Post-treatment survival rates: 65% to 80% of patients live 5 years or more

Mesothelioma Hope can connect you with leading doctors and cancer centers for the best peritoneal mesothelioma treatment. Get started right now with our Free Doctor Match.

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Types of Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatments

Different peritoneal mesothelioma treatments may be used depending on unique patient factors. Learn about the different types of treatments and when doctors can use them below.

Cytoreduction With HIPEC

Most doctors consider cytoreduction with HIPEC to be the most effective treatment of peritoneal mesothelioma.

It’s a two-step process involving:

  1. Cytoreductive surgery: First, surgeons remove all visible cancer tumors from the peritoneum.
  2. Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC): After surgery, doctors bathe the abdominal cavity with a heated saline solution infused with chemotherapy drugs. This helps kill any microscopic cancer cells that were left behind.

“HIPEC is administered in the operating room right after the cytoreductive surgery is completed. It usually takes about 90 minutes and may be an optimal way of ensuring that the chemotherapy is distributed to all the tissues in the abdomen.”

— Dr. Richard Alexander, peritoneal mesothelioma specialist

Cytoreduction with HIPEC helps many peritoneal mesothelioma patients live longer. With it, the average life expectancy of patients is 53 months (over 4 years), according to a 2019 report published by Cancer Management and Research.

Some patients even become long-term survivors thanks to this peritoneal mesothelioma treatment combination, living for over 15 years.

Alexis Kidd and her husband Christian
Point of Hope

After being diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2007, Alexis Kidd decided to undergo cytoreduction with HIPEC. The treatment was a success, and she is still thriving more than 16 years later.

Cytoreduction with HIPEC works best in patients with early-stage peritoneal mesothelioma, as doctors have a better chance of removing most or all of the cancer.


Doctors can also treat peritoneal mesothelioma using systemic chemotherapy, where cancer-killing drugs circulate through the body.

Doctors may recommend systemic chemotherapy if a patient can’t get cytoreductive surgery due to cancer spread in cases of advanced peritoneal mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy may also be used depending on the patient’s cell type. There are three mesothelioma cell types determined by which cancer cells are found in a tumor.

The more aggressive cell types (biphasic or sarcomatoid) are usually treated with systemic chemotherapy, as they can spread faster than the more common epithelioid mesothelioma cell type.

Did You Know?

Doctors use different types and combinations of chemotherapy drugs to treat peritoneal mesothelioma. Patients treated with the chemotherapy drugs pemetrexed and cisplatin lived for over 13 months in a study published by Translational Lung Cancer Research.

Call (866) 608-8933 now to get help accessing top peritoneal mesothelioma treatments like chemotherapy. Our registered nurses and Patient Advocates are ready to assist you.

Radiation Therapy

A radiation machine

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells or shrink tumors. It damages the DNA of tumor cells, preventing cancer metastasis (spread) to other parts of the body.

Doctors only occasionally use radiation therapy to treat peritoneal mesothelioma. A patient may undergo radiation treatments after surgery, according to NYU Langone Health.

By performing mesothelioma radiation following surgery, doctors can help prevent cancer from regrowing and spreading into areas where surgical incisions were made.


Immunotherapy treatments allow the body to better identify and destroy cancer cells that sneak past the immune system.

Did You Know?

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients treated with the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda®) lived for over 20 months on average, according to a 2023 Oncology study. Further, more than half of the patients had their cancer temporarily stop growing.

Immunotherapy for peritoneal mesothelioma is a newer treatment, so it’s currently available only through clinical trials. You can ask your mesothelioma doctor if you qualify to join a clinical trial that offers immunotherapy.

Clinical Trials and New Treatments for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma clinical trials safely test new treatments to see if they can help patients live longer. Besides immunotherapy, many other emerging treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma are being studied in clinical trials across the U.S.

Some of these new peritoneal mesothelioma treatments include:

  • Gene therapy, which inserts new genes into mesothelioma cells so they can be destroyed.
  • Photodynamic therapy, which uses high-intensity light to activate the body’s immune response and destroy cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy, which focuses on attacking cancer cells directly while minimizing harm to healthy tissues.
  • Virotherapy, which is the use of modified viruses to help slow or stop the spread of cancer. Researchers are studying how viruses can treat mice with peritoneal mesothelioma in hopes that one day humans can benefit from this treatment.

You may be able to access one or more of these new peritoneal mesothelioma treatments through a clinical trial depending on the spread of your cancer, overall health, cell type, and other factors.

Learn more about treatments and clinical trials in our Free Mesothelioma Guide.

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Palliative Care for Relieving Peritoneal Mesothelioma Symptoms

Palliative care plays a crucial role in easing painful symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma, improving comfort, and enhancing quality of life.

Learn about different palliative treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma below.

Alternative Therapy

Alternative treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma can help reduce stress and ease painful symptoms.

An older woman and man seated on yoga mats

Notable peritoneal mesothelioma alternative treatments include:

Patients shouldn’t substitute alternative treatments for standard ones like surgery or chemotherapy. Instead, patients should use alternative therapies to supplement regular treatments under the supervision of a doctor.


Doctors may insert catheters into the body so peritoneal mesothelioma patients can drain excess fluid from the abdominal cavity at home without the need for repeated hospital visits.

The PleurX catheter, which was designed to treat recurring fluid buildup in pleural mesothelioma patients, can also work for those dealing with fluid buildup (also known as ascites) from abdominal-related cancers like peritoneal mesothelioma.

Low-Dose Chemotherapy and Radiation

Scaled-back chemotherapy and radiation treatments can alleviate symptoms by shrinking tumors that may press on bones, nerves, or blood vessels.

Palliative mesothelioma radiation is used by top hospitals like Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Chemotherapy has been endorsed as a palliative cancer treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma by leading organizations like the Meso Foundation.

Contact us now to find the best peritoneal mesothelioma treatments with help from our registered nurses and Patient Advocates.

Pain Medications

Over-the-counter drugs or prescribed medications, including steroids or opioids, can manage pain associated with peritoneal mesothelioma.


Paracentesis allows doctors to treat ascites (also called peritoneal effusion) using a thin needle.

Peritoneal effusion is very common among peritoneal mesothelioma patients and can cause symptoms like abdominal pain and swelling. By draining ascites with paracentesis, patients can find relief and have a better quality of life.

Doctors Who Treat Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Peritoneal mesothelioma cancer is very rare, with only a few hundred new cases each year, and also highly aggressive. For these reasons, you need to seek treatment from doctors and hospitals that specifically treat peritoneal mesothelioma.

Learn about top specialists and cancer centers that can help you or a loved one below.

Top Peritoneal Mesothelioma Doctors

Doctors across the country treat peritoneal mesothelioma and can recommend the best therapies depending on the specifics of your case.

“You need to see a mesothelioma specialist. Your local doctor or oncologist has most likely never seen a case like yours, and you need to find one who treats your cancer.”

— Julie Gundlach, 17+ year mesothelioma survivor

Some of the country’s top peritoneal mesothelioma doctors include:

Your cancer care team may consist of different oncologists (cancer doctors) who each specialize in one particular treatment, including surgeons, medical oncologists (who administer chemotherapy), and radiologists.

Find the best peritoneal specialists near you with our Free Doctor Match.

Mesothelioma doctor talking with an older couple
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We'll help you connect with a local mesothelioma specialist for personalized treatment.

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Peritoneal Mesothelioma Hospitals

Top doctors treat peritoneal mesothelioma at cancer centers located throughout the United States.

Some of the best hospitals for peritoneal mesothelioma treatment include:

Our team can help you find a top peritoneal mesothelioma treatment center close to you.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Peritoneal mesothelioma treatment expenses can total $500,000 or more. For example, the cost of cytoreductive surgery with HIPEC alone ranges from over $38,000 to nearly $50,000, according to a recent report published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology.

Factors that can influence the cost of peritoneal mesothelioma treatment include:

  • Treatment options: Some treatments may be more expensive than others.
  • Diagnostic tests and imaging: The cost of initial exams and imaging scans can add up quickly.
  • Hospital and health care provider fees: These fees can vary based on the health care facility and the professionals involved in your treatment.
  • Post-treatment care: Regular follow-up appointments and monitoring can also contribute to long-term costs.
  • Travel expenses: You and your family members may face unexpected expenses like gas, plane tickets, and lodging if you need to travel to access treatment.

Even with insurance, malignant peritoneal mesothelioma treatment can still be costly for you and your family. Mesothelioma Hope can help afford the care you need by pursuing asbestos compensation on your behalf.

Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, and manufacturers used this toxic mineral in their products from the 1930s to the early 1980s without disclosing the risks. You may be owed compensation from these companies to help cover your peritoneal mesothelioma treatment expenses and other costs.

Did You Know?

Our legal partners have helped mesothelioma patients recover $1 million or more on average, allowing them to afford life-changing medical treatment.

Call (866) 608-8933 now to find top mesothelioma treatments and learn if you qualify for financial assistance.

Start Your Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment Journey Now

Thanks to major treatments like cytoreduction with HIPEC, peritoneal mesothelioma patients might live for many years or even become long-term survivors. Treatments can even help patients with advanced cancer.

If you or a loved one has peritoneal mesothelioma, work with Mesothelioma Hope to find the best treatments, doctors, and hospitals right now.

Our registered nurses and Patient Advocates can:

  • Determine which treatments may help you
  • Put you in touch with top local doctors and hospitals
  • Support you and your family on your cancer journey

Don’t wait: Use our Free Doctor Match or call (866) 608-8933 to get the guidance and support you deserve.


Mesothelioma Hope has no affiliation with and is not endorsed or sponsored by any of the doctors listed above. The contact information above is listed for informational purposes only. You have the right to contact these mesothelioma specialists directly.

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Treatment FAQs

How long can you live with stage 4 peritoneal mesothelioma?

Doctors don’t classify cases of peritoneal mesothelioma into stages. Instead, they consider cases to be localized or advanced. It’s possible to live for many years with advanced peritoneal mesothelioma — especially if you get promptly treated.

For example, Alexis Kidd is still alive today after being diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2007.

Doctors can recommend different treatments to improve your life expectancy depending on how far your cancer has spread at the time of your peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis.

What is the 5-year survival rate for peritoneal mesothelioma?

The average 5-year peritoneal mesothelioma survival rate is 65%, according to Moffitt Cancer Center. The 5-year median survival rate can even be higher depending on the types of treatments used.

Among patients treated with cytoreductive surgery, HIPEC, and additional chemotherapy, the 5-year survival rate jumped to 80% in a 2022 study led by renowned peritoneal mesothelioma specialist Dr. Paul Sugarbaker.

Contact us now to find peritoneal mesothelioma treatments that can improve your survival time.

Can peritoneal mesothelioma go into remission?

Yes, peritoneal mesothelioma can sometimes go into remission with treatment. In some cases, patients may have a complete response to treatment, meaning that doctors can find no signs of cancer cells or tumor activity.

Mary Jane Williams had peritoneal mesothelioma but went into complete remission for nearly 15 years after she underwent 2 surgeries and 5 months of chemotherapy. She passed away from other causes without her cancer returning.

Even if complete remission is not achieved, malignant peritoneal mesothelioma treatment can still help control the disease, reduce symptoms, and prolong survival.

What is the latest treatment for peritoneal mesothelioma?

Some of the latest treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma include immunotherapy, gene therapy, mesothelioma vaccines, photodynamic therapy, and targeted therapy.

These approaches are still being studied in clinical trials, highlighting the continuous efforts to find innovative and effective treatments.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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  14. Pinto, A. & Pocard, M. (2018, December 18). Photodynamic therapy and photothermal therapy for the treatment of peritoneal metastasis: a systematic review. Retrieved February 14, 2024, from
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