October 17, 2011 – A new joint study conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the U.S. and Kagawa University in Japan suggests that examining the nuclei of mesothelioma cells may more effectively predict how long a mesothelioma patient will survive than determining the cancer’s “stage”, a measure of the cancer’s extent and severity. Studying the slides of cancer cells from 232 patients diagnosed with epithelioid mesothelioma, the most common subtype of the disease, the researchers evaluated the nuclei of the cells on seven different features. Analysis of the evaluations revealed that two of the features – nuclear atypia (variation in appearance) and mitotic count (abnormal division of the chromosomes) – were directly related to patient prognosis.
Using these two factors, the researchers developed a three-tiered nuclear grade score to be used to predict length of survival. Grade I patients survived an average of 28 months. Grade II patients had an overall survival rate of 14 months. Grade III patients survived an average of 5 months. In addition to survival prognosis, the grading system was also effective at predicting mesothelioma recurrence after complete surgical resection.
Read more about the study here.