A short report entitled High incidence of mesothelioma in an English city without heavy industrial use of asbestos by WT Hamilton, AP Round, DJ Sharp and TJ Peters, which appeared in the Journal of Public Health,1 reaches a disturbing conclusion:
The mesothelioma epidemic will affect areas without major industrial exposure to asbestos. This means that clinicians in both primary and secondary care should expect to encounter cases wherever they practise.
The e-bulletin circulated by Mesothelioma UK (August, 2005)2 contains an interesting discussion on the launch of Mesomarktm, a commercial blood test which could be used as a screening tool to detect the early stages of mesothelioma; author Dr. Robin Rudd concludes that:
A potentially more appropriate use of this test than screening is in monitoring the response to treatment, given that there is some correlation between levels (serum levels of mesothelin related peptides) and tumour bulk. This merits further research.
Also in the bulletin is news of:
MS01, a randomized control trial of mesothelioma treatment protocols;
Cambridge MesoVATS Trial, a study of the efficacy of cytoreduction and lung mobilization of pleural effusions in mesothelioma;
Mesothelioma and Radical Surgery Study.
An email circulated by Dominic Wake from Lilly UK in August, 2005 contained news of a decision by the Scottish Medicines Consortium which ruled that Permetrexed (Alimta) was acceptable, in combination with cisplatin, for the treatment of chemotherapy-nave patients with stage III/IV unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Permetrexed is the first licensed agent for the treatment of MPM in the UK.
September 2, 2005
1 Journal of Public Health 26(1) 2004, pp. 77-78.