PIT Radiotherapy Trial for Mesothelioma Patients

 By Kathy Cooke.    2nd November 2013

Most radiotherapy centres treating mesothelioma have been providing prophylactic irradiation to intervention tracts (known as PIT) – radiation treatment to the chest wall incision site following a thoracoscopy type test - to try and stop skin nodules developing. It is unclear whether or not this is a useful treatment and a randomised controlled radiotherapy trial has been started to test if PIT can prevent or delay the skin nodules developing.

Complications following tests carried out to establish a diagnosis of mesothelioma

mesothelioma PIT trial

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that may develop many years after being exposed to asbestos. It arises from the cells present in the protective lining that covers some of internal organs e.g. lungs, heart, peritoneum. The most common form is malignant pleural mesothelioma found in the pleural layers that cover the lungs and line the inside of the chest wall.

One of the diagnostic tests for mesothelioma is a pleural biopsy which involves taking a sample of the cells from the chest wall. This may be carried out via a thoracoscopy - a minor operation under local or GA anaesthetic where a small incision is made in the chest wall and a thin tube passed through it to collect the cells or fluid.

Patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who undergo a thorascopic procedure as detailed above may develop what is known as ‘seeding’ at the site of the incision leading to skin lumps or ‘nodules’ where the tube was put in.

What is the trial PIT?

A phase III study aiming to establish the role of prophylactic irradiation of portal tracts in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma was started in July 2012 and is due to end 1st June 2015. The chief investigator for this mesothelioma radiotherapy trial is Corinne Faivre-Finn, a Consultant Clinical Oncologist and an Honorary Senior Lecturer in Manchester with an interest in lung cancer. Dr Neil Bayman, also working in Manchester leads on this PIT trial.

The trial aims to recruit about 400 patients who are randomly split into 2 groups by a computer – group 1 will not have PIT radiotherapy whilst group 2 will have PIT radiotherapy involving 3 daily treatment sessions lasting 15 minutes each. Side effects from the PIT treatment should only be a reddening of the skin where the treatment was, a possible aching in the area and mild tiredness.

People who have already had radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an open thoracotomy are not eligible to enter this specific mesothelioma radiotherapy trial.

Patients will still be able to have any other treatment that is necessary to manage the mesothelioma after the PIT radiotherapy has finished.

We will provide an update on the PIT trial as and when results are published.

The PIT trial is supported by NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme, National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN) and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.

Supporting Ref: Lee, Caroline, Bayman, Neil A, Swindell, Ric, Faivre-Finn, Corinne Prophylactic radiotherapy to intervention sites in mesothelioma: a systematic review and survey of UK practice. 2009, 66 (2):150-6 Lung Cancer

Our specialist solicitors have been claiming compensation for mesothelioma victims for over 15 years. If you have any questions regarding making a claim for compensation then please call and ask for Warren Miller or Kathy Cooke.

FreePhone 0800 923 0046
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