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A seven-year disease-free survivor of malignant pleural mesothelioma treated with hyperthermia and chemotherapy: a case report

Noriyuki Okonogi1*, Takeshi Ebara12, Hitoshi Ishikawa13, Daisaku Yoshida1, Manabu Ueno4, Toshitaka Maeno4, Tatsuo Suga4 and Takashi Nakano1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiation Oncology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, 3-39-22 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma, 371-8511, Japan

2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Saitama International Medical Center, Saitama, Japan

3 Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

4 Department of Medicine and Biological Science, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Gunma, Japan

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:427  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-427

Published: 28 December 2012



Malignant pleural mesothelioma was once a rare finding but its incidence is increasing worldwide, most likely because of widespread exposure to asbestos. Although complete surgical resection is considered the only curative treatment, the results of surgery have shown a median survival time of only one year. In inoperable cases, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and a combination of both have been considered as palliative therapy. Therefore, outcomes for inoperable cases have been poor. Here, we report the case of a long-term survivor treated with hyperthermia and chemotherapy.

Case presentation

A 61-year-old Japanese man with a performance status of 1 due to chest pain was referred to our hospital. He had a history of asbestos exposure for approximately five years. A computed tomography scan showed diffuse extensive right pleural thickening with small nodular lesions, and video-assisted thoracoscopy revealed tumor invasion of the ipsilateral chest wall muscles. The histopathologic findings were consistent with a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (sarcomatoid type). The tumor was diagnosed as being stage cT3N0M0. Our patient refused any invasive therapies including surgery and radiotherapy, and was therefore treated with hyperthermia and systemic chemotherapy with agents such as cisplatin and irinotecan. He underwent three hyperthermia sessions and a single course of chemotherapy without any severe complications. One month after treatment, a follow-up computed tomography scan showed no definitive abnormality in the thoracic space. Our patient has subsequently survived without any evident disease for more than seven years.


The combination of hyperthermia and chemotherapy may be a novel and safe therapeutic option for malignant pleural mesothelioma, and can be considered for patients ineligible for radical treatment. Further clinical studies of the combination of hyperthermia and chemotherapy are needed to confirm the effects of this treatment on malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy; Hyperthermia; Long-term survivor; Malignant pleural mesothelioma