Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Face Barriers to Treatment Access

Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Face Barriers to Treatment Access

Press Release
Sep 12, 2021

 Chris Martin, IASLC Media Relations |

(DENVER—September 12, 2021, 9 a.m. GMT/10 a.m. CDT/11 a.m. EDT)—A study of 2,804 patients with stage I to stage III malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) found significant variability in access to care and a positive association between multimodality treatment, income levels, and survival outcomes. The research was presented today at the IASLC 2021 World Conference on Lung Cancer in OA13: Topics in Pleural Mesothelioma.

Assistant Professor Dr. Estelamari Rodriguez of the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center said that it is unclear what role disparities in access to care or a patient’s socioeconomic status play in disease-related outcomes for operable MPM. To determine an answer, Dr. Rodriguez and his co-researchers used the National Cancer Database to assess patterns-of-care and overall survival among patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma by treatment access and individualized patient socioeconomic characteristics.

Dr. Rodriguez examined patient records of those with stage I-IIIA malignant pleural mesothelioma treated from 2004 to 2017. A total of 2,804 patients were identified, with a median age of 65 years. Of the patients who had surgery, (n = 1,402), the majority were men (70%), of White race (83.1%), and had stage I-II disease (86.7%) that was pathologically defined as epithelioid mesothelioma (58.9%).

Compared to those who did not have surgery, patients who underwent surgery as part of their treatment were travelling a greater distance for treatment (mean 16.10 miles vs 14.40 [p < 0.001]). The relationship between income and survival was not linear. Patients in the third quartile of income ($50,354–$63,332) had better survival, with a 17% reduction of overall mortality risk compared with the highest quartile (HR 0.83, 95% CI: 0.74 - 0.92; p = 0.001 after adjustment for patient, tumor, and facility-related variables). But no significant socio-economic effect was seen for the two lowest income quartiles (< $40,227 and $40,227–$50,353).

“Among patients with operable malignant pleural mesothelioma there is significant variability in access to care regarding the distance to facility, facility type and volume. In a multivariable analysis, receipt of chemotherapy or multimodality treatment—chemotherapy and radiotherapy—predicted better outcomes despite a patient’s race, socioeconomic status, and tumor characteristics,” Dr. Rodriguez reported.

“Understanding social determinants of health and addressing disparities in access to surgery and multimodality therapy can help ensure equity of care for patients with MPM,” she said.

About IASLC:

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) is the only global organization dedicated solely to the study of lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies. Founded in 1974, the association's membership includes nearly 7,500 lung cancer specialists across all disciplines in over 100 countries, forming a global network working together to conquer lung and thoracic cancers worldwide. The association also publishes the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the primary educational and informational publication for topics relevant to the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of all thoracic malignancies. Visit for more information. 

About the WCLC:

The WCLC is the world’s largest meeting dedicated to lung cancer and other thoracic malignancies, attracting more than 7,000 researchers, physicians and specialists from more than 100 countries. The goal is to increase awareness, collaboration and understanding of lung cancer, and to help participants implement the latest developments across the globe. The conference will cover a wide range of disciplines and unveil several research studies and clinical trial results. For more information, visit