Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma: a review
Mesothelioma is a malignancy of serosal membranes. It is most commonly encountered in the visceral pleura with the second most common location in the peritoneum. The diagnosis is very rare and has been linked to toxic exposure to industrial pollutants, especially asbestos. Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (MPM) commonly presents with diffuse, extensive spread throughout the abdomen with rare metastatic spread beyond the abdominal cavity. Due to its rarity and nonspecific symptoms, it is usually diagnosed late when the disease burden is extensive. Because pleural mesothelioma is more common than MPM, most research has been on the pleural variant and extrapolated for MPM. While treatment advances have been made for MPM, the disease is universally fatal from either abdominal complications secondary to the spread of disease or starvation. Untreated, the life expectancy is less than a year. Cytoreductive surgery (CRS) with heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has become the mainstay of therapy with systemic therapies still being developed. We will review the epidemiology of MPM and discuss diagnostic and treatment strategies.