Background: A novel approach for managing malignant pleural mesothelioma, surgery for mesothelioma after radiotherapy (SMART), consisting of a short accelerated course of high-dose, hemithoracic, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy was developed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical feasibility of the SMART protocol.
Methods: In this single-centre, phase 2 trial, patients aged 18 years or older with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0–2, with histologically proven, resectable, cT1–3N0M0 disease who had previously untreated malignant pleural mesothelioma were eligible for inclusion. Patients received 25 Gy in five daily fractions over 1 week to the entire ipsilateral hemithorax with a concomitant 5 Gy boost to high risk areas followed by extrapleural pneumonectomy within 1 week. Adjuvant chemotherapy was offered to patients with ypN+ disease on final pathology. The primary endpoint was feasibility, which was defined as the number of patients with 30-day perioperative treatment-related death (grade 5 events) or morbidity (grade 3 or 4 events). A key secondary endpoint was cumulative incidence of distant recurrence. The final analysis was done on an intention-to-treat basis (including all eligible patients). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00797719.
Findings: Between Nov 1, 2008, and Oct 31, 2019, 102 patients were enrolled onto the trial and 96 eligible patients were treated with [ surgery for mesothelioma after radiotherapy (SMART) ] on protocol and included in the analysis. Extrapleural pneumonectomy was done at a median of 5 days (range 2–12) after completing IMRT. 47 (49%) patients had 30-day perioperative grade 3–4 events and one (1%) patient died within 30 days perioperatively (grade 5 event; pneumonia). After a median follow-up of 46·8 months (IQR 13·4–61·2), the 5-year cumulative incidence of distant recurrence was 62 (63·3% [95% CI 52·3–74·4]). The most common first sites of recurrence were the contralateral chest (33 [46%] of 72 patients) and the peritoneal cavity (32 [44%]).
Interpretation: Results from this study suggest that [ surgery for mesothelioma after radiotherapy (SMART), i.e., extrapleural pneumonectomy after radiotherapy ] can be done with good early and long-term results. However, minimising grade 4 events on the protocol is technically demanding and might affect survival beyond the post-operative period.
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