Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at treatment for fluid around the lung caused by mesothelioma (MesoVATS)
This trial looked at 2 procedures for people with pleural mesothelioma to see which works best to prevent a buildup of fluid around the lung.
Pleural mesothelioma is cancer of the lining of the lungs (pleura). It can cause fluid to collect between the lining of the lung and the lining of the chest wall. This is called a pleural effusion . It causes shortness of breath because the fluid gets in the way and the lungs cannot expand fully.
More about this trial
Doctors can drain off the fluid to help relieve shortness of breath. But it usually builds up again over time. Sticking the lining of the lung to the chest wall can stop this happening. The 2 main ways to do this are
- Putting talc through a tube into the space between the lungs and the chest wall (talc pleurodesis)
- An operation to remove the membrane around the lungs (pleurectomy)
The doctors in this trial removed part of the membrane around the lung. This is called a video assisted thorascopic partial pleurectomy or a VAT-PP. They compared a pleurodesis with a VAT-PP to find out more about
- How long people lived for after the procedure
- The side effects and cost
- Quality of life after the procedure
The trial team found that VAT-PP improved quality of life for up to a year, but it did not improve overall survival in this group of people.
196 people took part in the trial and
- Half had talc pleurodesis
- Half had video assisted thorascopic partial pleurectomy (VAT-PP)
The researchers looked at the average length of time people lived after joining the trial. Doctors call this overall survival. They found no difference between the 2 groups.
The researchers also looked at how much the procedures cost. They found that on average VAT-PP cost £3,800 more than talc pleurodesis. This was because the actual procedure cost more, it resulted in longer hospital stays and more people had to come back into hospital because of side effects. These included breathing problems and other surgical complications.
When the researchers looked at
The trial team concluded that VAT-PP improved quality of life for up to a year, but it did not improve overall survival in this group of people. Talc pleurodesis cost less, had fewer side effects and shorter hospital stays.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Dr Robert Rintoul
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)