New Tool to Help Diagnose and Treat Malignant Mesothelioma?

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, at the University of Pennsylvania, have uncovered a new tool that may aid in the staging and treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The findings show that posterior intercostal lymph nodes have an accurate predictive power for mesothelioma, a cancerous lining of the lungs, which is difficult to diagnose and stage. The Penn study included 48 surgical patients. In many of those patients who had metastatic cancer, the posterior intercostal lymph nodes were the only nodes that showed metastasis.

Since staging reflects the severity of the cancer (and thus, the course of treatment), this new predictive tool seems helpful. Better staging could lead to better decision making for both doctors and patients, hopefully leading to better treatment.