Instead of surgery, the doctors treated the patient for three months with Opdivo+Yervoy immunotherapy. In response, his tumor shrank by about half. This means the patient’s body cleared around 50% of the tumor cells. The cancer also did not spread during this time. These positive results convinced the doctors to reassess the patient’s surgery eligibility.
After checking again, the doctors found him eligible for a pleurectomy and decortication (P/D). Combining P/D with other forms of treatment often does the best job of improving pleural mesothelioma prognosis. During the operation, the surgeons were able to remove all visible tumor tissue from the patient.
After surgery, doctors sent the removed tumor tissue for testing. Less than 1% of the tested mesothelioma cells were still alive. That means the ICIs may have killed 99% of the patient’s tumor cells even before surgery.
At his last follow-up, the patient had no signs that the cancer had returned.
How Does This Compare to Other Treatments for Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma?
In the past, sarcomatoid mesothelioma patients generally had limited treatment options. Doctors had tried treating them with many approaches, including surgery. But they failed to improve survival for sarcomatoid patients. As such, many sarcomatoid cases were considered inoperable. This left patients with only one real option: chemo.