Researchers are hopeful about a new method of diagnosing and determining treatment options for those suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma. The lymph nodes are commonly used to stage all types of cancer, including mesothelioma, but until now, the posterior intercostal lymph nodes have been overlooked. These lymph nodes, located between the ribs near the spine, may play an important role in tracking the progression of malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Determining whether metastatic cancer cells have presented in the lymph nodes is one of the main ways physicians develop a prognosis for cancer patients. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, it affects the types of treatment options available. The posterior intercostal lymph nodes are not currently used to stage or determine treatment for any type of cancer, but they may be a strong indicator of survival rate for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.
Joseph S. Friedberg, MD, chief of the Section of Thoracic Surgery at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and co-director of the Penn Mesothelioma and Pleural Disease Program in Philadelphia, along with his colleagues, examined the lymph nodes of 48 malignant pleural mesothelioma patients who were undergoing radical pleurectomy. Researchers found that more than half of the patients had metastatic cancer cells in the posterior intercostal lymph nodes, and in some cases, the cancer cells had only presented in this particular group of lymph nodes. Additionally, patients who did not have cancer cells in the posterior intercostal lymph nodes had an overall survival rate nearly two and a half years longer than those who did.
If metastatic cells are reaching the posterior intercostal lymph nodes first, it’s possible that the presence or absence of cells in these lymph nodes could be used to develop a prognosis earlier and open up other treatment avenues for patients. Following the study, Dr. Friedberg and his team recommended that these lymph nodes be biopsied in developing surgery-based treatment plans, and that they be used as a staging criteria for mesothelioma. Dr. Friedberg hopes that the findings of the study encourage other treatment centers to explore the use of posterior intercostal lymph nodes in determining treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs and chest cavity, caused by exposure to asbestos. Because of its long latency period, it can be very difficult to diagnose. Having additional diagnostic tools such as examining the posterior intercostal lymph nodes may help expedite treatment and increase life expectancy for those suffering from this devastating disease.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, an experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve. The experienced, knowledgeable legal team at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler will ensure that the party or parties responsible for your asbestos exposure will be held accountable. We will handle your case with compassion and care, and work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome. With offices conveniently located in Center City Philadelphia, we help mesothelioma victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-800-369-0899 or contact us online for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable mesothelioma attorneys.