Introduction: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive cancer that primarily arises from the pleura (MPM) or peritoneum (MPeM), mostly due to asbestos exposure. This study reviewed the Dutch population-based incidence, treatment and survival since the national ban on asbestos in 1993.
Materials and methods: Patients with MPM or MPeM diagnosed from 1993 to 2018 were selected from the Dutch cancer registry. Annual percentage change (APC) was calculated for (age-specific and sex-specific) revised European standardised incidence rates (RESR). Treatment pattern and Kaplan-Meier overall survival analyses were performed.
Results: In total, 12 168 patients were included in the study. For male patients younger than 80 years, the [ malignant mesothelioma (MM) ] incidence significantly decreased in the last decade (APC ranging between −9.4% and −1.8%, p<0.01). Among both male and female patients aged over 80 years, the incidence significantly increased during the entire study period (APC 3.3% and 4.6%, respectively, p<0.01). From 2003 onwards, the use of systemic chemotherapy increased especially for MPM (from 9.3% to 39.4%). Overall, 62.2% of patients received no antitumour treatment. The most common reasons for not undergoing antitumour treatment were patient preference (42%) and performance status (25.6%). The median overall survival improved from 7.3 (1993–2003) to 8.9 (2004–2011) and 9.3 months from 2012 to 2018 (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The peak of [ malignant mesothelioma (MM) ] incidence was reached around 2010 in the Netherlands, and currently the incidence is declining in most age groups. The use of systemic chemotherapy increased from 2003, which likely resulted in improved overall survival over time. The majority of patients do not receive treatment though and prognosis is still poor.
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