An analysis is made of the results of pleuropneumonectomy for diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma in 29 patients and a comparison is made with the results of non-surgical treatment in a further 17 patients. A system of tumour staging is proposed, and the results are correlated with tumour stage and with histological type. Pleuropneumonectomy does not appear materially to affect the course of the disease in cases of mixed epithelial and mesenchymal histological type. However, stage I cases of pure epithelial histological type appear to carry a better prognosis, especially those whose histological structure consists entirely of abundant oedematous mucoid stroma with loosely arranged tumour cells. It is suggested therefore that only epithelial cases should be subjected to pleuropneumonectomy. Means of reducing operative mortality are discussed and alternative methods of treatment described.
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