Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

Quick Summary

Several considerations factor into a patient's mesothelioma prognosis. Age, cell type, lifestyle and cancer stage can all play a role. The three locations of mesothelioma also vary in terms of life expectancy. Peritoneal mesothelioma generally shows a better prognosis than both pleural mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma, since its location is easier to operate on.

Quick Facts About Peritoneal Mesothelioma

  • Peritoneal mesothelioma is asbestos-caused cancer found in the lining of the peritoneal cavity (abdomen)
  • Approximately 500 cases of peritoneal mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. It is the second most common type of mesothelioma, comprising around 20% of cases worldwide.
  • Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy combined with cytoreductive surgery is thought to be the most effective treatment for this form of mesothelioma. This therapy involves the use of heated chemotherapy drugs in concentrated form, which are administered into the abdomen during surgery.
  • Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma affect the gastrointestinal system and the abdomen

How Is the Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis Determined?

Prognosis for mesothelioma patients is varied, even though the disease is the same. Doctors will determine your prognosis based on the type of mesothelioma you have (peritoneal), how far cancer has spread (stage) and the mesothelioma cell type that is present (histology). In addition to these cancer-specific factors, they will also look at individual details such as your age and overall health.

Finally, doctors will factor in historical data of peritoneal mesothelioma patients and their survival rates. The prognosis is not an exact science, but rather an educated assessment based on all these diverse, yet relevant, factors.

Mesothelioma Location

Peritoneal mesothelioma patients have a better prognosis than patients with pleural or pericardial mesothelioma. This is partially because the location of cancer (in the abdomen) is easier to treat than the sensitive lungs or heart, with less risk of complications. In addition, the new strides made with the introduction of cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC have shown the most promising results for peritoneal mesothelioma patients. This leading edge form of multimodal therapy has led to a higher survival rate for peritoneal mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma Stage

Doctors usually assess the stage of cancer on a scale of 1-4. However, this system isn’t always applied to peritoneal mesothelioma patients. That being said, doctors still do assess the metastasis (spread) of peritoneal mesothelioma in order to determine the patient’s prognosis.

In its early stages, peritoneal mesothelioma is confined to the abdominal lining. In later stages, it may spread outside of the abdominal lining. Eventually, it may extend to the lymph nodes as well as the area surrounding the peritoneum.


With any type of mesothelioma, doctors will consider the cell type present when forming the prognosis.

There are three mesothelioma cell types:

Epitheliod: The most common cell type, epitheliod responds best to treatment.

Sarcomatoid: The rarest cell type, sarcomatoid is more resistant to treatment and usually has a poorer diagnosis.

Biphasic: A biphasic tumor contains epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells with different ratios. Prognosis depends on the ratio of epitheliod to sarcomatoid cells. The more epitheliod cells and the less sarcomatoid cells, the easier is it for treatment.

For peritoneal mesothelioma, about 70% are epithelioid, approximately 20% are biphasic, and only 10% are sarcomatoid.

This is positive for the prognosis, as most cases of peritoneal mesothelioma are made up of the most treatment-responsive cell type.

Age and General Health

Doctors will also factor in your age and general health when determining the prognosis. These factors impact your eligibility for intensive treatments; the older you are or the poorer your existing health, the higher the chance of complications in aggressive treatments.

Life Expectancy for Peritoneal Mesothelioma

The life expectancy for peritoneal mesothelioma depends on an assortment of factors, including your age and gender, the cell type that is present (histology), and the stage of cancer. Whether you have any existing health conditions will also play a role, along with the general health habits you maintain. Early stage mesothelioma patients have better prognoses than later stage patients. Of course, this also has to do with the fact that the later the stage, the fewer treatment options are available.

Life Expectancy Update

Fortunately, the life expectancy for peritoneal mesothelioma has improved significantly over the past several years, with a median survival time of 75.7 months according to a 2015 study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. The best prognosis is for peritoneal mesothelioma patients who are eligible to receive surgical procedures combined with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). Heated chemotherapy administered during surgery yielded the highest response rate.

However, the majority (more than 60%) of peritoneal mesothelioma patients are diagnosed once the disease has progressed too far for surgery to be an option. Chemotherapy without surgery can also improve prognosis, but early detection is always advantageous.

Improving Life Expectancy

No matter what stage you’ve been diagnosed at, you can take steps to improve your prognosis and possibly extend your life expectancy. When it comes to mesothelioma, there are no guarantees, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take control. Taking these steps can help you be proactive in trying to improve your life expectancy—and help you feel better in the meantime.

Work With a Mesothelioma Specialist

Finding the right mesothelioma specialist plays a critical role in improving your prognosis. In addition to ensuring you receive the best treatment possible, a specialist will have a deeper understanding of the disease than a general oncologist. In addition, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion.

Improve Your Personal Health

You’ll also benefit from working to improve your general health. This means getting enough sleep and rest time, eating a healthy diet, exercising within your ability and practicing self-care. It’s important to cut out unhealthy habits, such as smoking as this can weaken your body further. Doing your best to avoid catching colds or the flu from those around you will also keep you in better shape.

Don’t forget to take care of your mental and emotional health and well-being. Take advantage of support from others and consider speaking to a counselor as a way to cope with the changes to your body, health, and life.

Participate in Clinical Trials

Talk to your doctor about how you can participate in clinical trials for peritoneal mesothelioma. Clinical trials are the best way to gain access to new, industry-leading treatments. While these treatments are still in the testing stages, some show significant potential and have helped other mesothelioma patients improve their prognoses.

In addition to taking all these steps, you should explore the possibility of seeing a mesothelioma specialist. A specialist can provide a higher level of accuracy in determining your prognosis and give you personalized advice about treatment. They can also give you an invaluable second opinion on your prognosis.

Mesothelioma is a rare disease and some patients who saw general oncologists received inaccurate information about their prognosis and life expectancy. In order to ensure you have the most informed opinion, you should consider getting in touch with a specialist today.

Contact Mesothelioma Help Now for more information about the next steps after a peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis. We can put you in touch with a mesothelioma specialist who can speak to you about improving your prognosis and your options for treatment. Call us today at (800) 584-4151.