A recent clinical study found that patients with pleural mesothelioma who received prophylactic irradiation after having a chest wall procedure did not enjoy a clinical benefit, per an open-label, multicenter, phase 3 clinical trial. The clinical trial results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and they suggest that prophylactic irradiation is probably not desirable in a patient with pleural mesothelioma after having a chest wall procedure. (cancernetwork.com)

According to Jing Zeng, MD, prophylactic irradiation in mesothelioma patients has fallen out of favor in the US and is not used as often as more clinical studies are published showing minimal benefit. Zeng said the modern National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for pleural mesothelioma do not recommend prophylactic radiation. The clinical trial seems to confirm early findings that the procedure is not beneficial for these patients.

The above trial featured 375 patients with mesothelioma from 55 hospitals in the UK who had a chest wall procedure. All patients were randomized to receive prophylactic radiotherapy or no prophylactic radiotherapy. With a single electron field adapted to maximize coverage of the tract from the skin surface to the pleura, radiotherapy was given with a dose of 21 Gy in three fractions once per day over three days in a row. The major outcome was a greater incidence of chest wall metastases at six months.

After six months, six of 186 patients had developed chest wall metastases, compared to 10% of the patients in the control group. The difference was found to be insignificant. The total incidence over two years was 46 chest wall metastases, as was seen in 17 of 186 patients in the group that got prophylactic radiotherapy and 29 of 190 patients that did not receive it.

The cumulative incidence rate after two years did approach clinical significance, but Zeng said the overall disease control rate in mesothelioma patients is suboptimal. The one-year overall rate of survival is less than 50% So, there are very few patients who will probably be alive and free of the disease after 24 months to benefit from a small benefit in the local control of the treatment incidence tract.

Zeng agreed with the conclusion of the study authors that prophylactic radiation should not be offered to every patient with mesothelioma of the pleura. At this time, survival rates are suboptimal for patients with this asbestos cancer. Most patients develop progression of the disease at several sites, all of which can be very painful. So prophylactic radiation, to a single site, even if it does decrease recurrence at that one site, probably will not affect that patient’s quality of life.

Q&A for Mesothelioma Lawsuits

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you certainly have questions about what your legal options are. Below are some common questions and answers.

Do I need an attorney to represent me?

It is not required, but it is recommended to have an attorney who is well experienced in asbestos cancer lawsuits. Mesothelioma lawyers are experts in these cases and can increase the odds of substantial compensation. Their team of researchers can usually find the companies responsible for your asbestos exposure.

Can I sue for damages if I have mesothelioma?

Possibly; it depends on several factors. It needs to be determined how and where you got exposed to asbestos, the company responsible and when you were diagnosed. The average mesothelioma settlement is $1 million to $1.4 million but there are many factors that affect the value of a claim.

I got exposed to asbestos in my military service. Can I sue the military?

For the most part, mesothelioma lawsuits are filed against the corporations that made the asbestos-containing materials that led to your illness. Suing the military is not a normal legal practice. But you still may be eligible for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Can I get compensation through an asbestos trust fund?

Many companies that produced asbestos-containing materials obtained bankruptcy protection when mesothelioma victims started filing suits against them. But the government required most of these companies to establish trust funds to compensate both future and present victims of exposure to asbestos. Your mesothelioma attorney can help you to decide if you can make a claim against an asbestos trust fund.

I don’t recall when I was exposed to asbestos? Can I still file a lawsuit?

Usually, your mesothelioma attorney can help you to go through your work and life history to find how and when you were exposed. Your attorney’s research team should be able to target the companies that exposed you to asbestos.

Where is the best place to file my mesothelioma lawsuit?

It is possible to file your claim in many states. Some choose to file in their home state, while others file where the company is located.

If I file my claim out of state, do I need to travel there?

You probably will not need to travel. Usually, your attorney will travel to you. They may come to you to do an interview and get your legal deposition. They also will go to court for you. If travel is needed it usually is minor.

Are there deadlines for filing a mesothelioma claim?

Yes, every state has limits on when you can file your lawsuit after your diagnosis. In most states, it is from one to four years.

Is it expensive to hire a mesothelioma attorney?

Most of these attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means if you win a settlement or verdict, the lawyer will get a percentage of the compensation you receive. That fee typically ranges from 25% to 40%, depending on several factors.