What Is the Role of Radiotherapy in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma?

Allan Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. A review of the evidence supporting the use of radiotherapy in patients with mesothelioma was performed.

Methods. Relevant publications were searched for on Medline.

Results. In a Medline search on radiotherapy and mesothelioma, 611 hits were obtained. A limited number of prospective phase II trials of radiotherapy as part of trimodality protocols for early disease and in the palliation of pain were found, along with three small randomized controlled trials of port-site prophylaxis.

Conclusion. No randomized data exist to support the use of radiotherapy after radical surgery, although there are a large number of publications describing its use as an integral part of therapy, including seven phase II studies. One ongoing trial is randomizing patients to radiotherapy or not after extrapleural pneumonectomy. None of these studies provided any assessment of radiotherapy independent of the other modalities investigated, nor did any formally assess intensity-modulated radiotherapy. There have been several reports of excessive toxicity with this technique, and its use should be limited to phase I studies until the basis of this toxicity is better understood. Three trials have looked at port-site prophylaxis, one supporting its use and two showing no evidence of benefit. Two studies addressed pain control prospectively, one showing definite but short-lived benefits.

Implications. Radiotherapy is widely used in treating mesothelioma with little supporting evidence. More randomized trials are required to justify this use in all three common settings for its use. The Oncologist 2011;16:359-365

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalThe Oncologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'What Is the Role of Radiotherapy in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this