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Mesothelioma Survival Rate

Approximately 55 percent of mesothelioma patients live longer than 6 months, while roughly 35 percent live longer than one year. Only 9 percent of people diagnosed with mesothelioma survive longer than 5 years.

“How Long Can You Live With Mesothelioma?”

This question is commonly asked by those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a fatal form of cancer caused by asbestos. Unfortunately, as with most diseases, there is no one answer to how long a mesothelioma patient will live.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates Mesothelioma Survival Rates
6 months after diagnosis 55%
1 year after diagnosis 33%
5 years after diagnosis 9%

Survival Rates for Mesothelioma Are Improving

The good news is that survival rates for mesothelioma patients are improving. A 2015 meta-study looked at 20 years worth of results from 1992 – 2012, and during that period the two major forms of mesothelioma (pleural and peritoneal) have both seen an improvement in survivorship.

Mesothelioma Survival Rate by Type Life Expectancy by Mesothelioma Cell Type
Pleural Peritoneal Pericardial
1 year 73% 92% 51%
3 years 23% 74% 26%
5 years 12% 65% 23%
10 years 4.7% 39% (N/A)

According to the study, peritoneal mesothelioma survivorship has especially shown significant improvement, largely due to new forms of treatment, such as hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC).

The Effect of Treatment on Survival

The type of treatment a mesothelioma patient receives can affect survival rates. Whether this is due to the treatment itself or to other factors (e.g., if the patient is too ill to undergo a more aggressive treatment) may not always be apparent. While there has been no single study showing survival rates based on treatment across all types of mesothelioma, separate studies have been done on the two most common forms of mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Survival Rate by Treatment Type Mesothelioma Survival Rate by Treatment Type
Pleural Mesothelioma
Chemotherapy Only 2 years 19%
5 years 4%
Pleurectomy / Decortication (P/D) 2 years 40%
5 years 10%
Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) 2 years 37%
5 years 12%
Peritoneal Mesothelioma
CRS-207 + Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC) 5 years 50%

For pleural mesothelioma, patients who undergo a pleurectomy/decortication (P/D) or extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) – both of which are usually part of a multimodal treatment plan – generally have a much higher rate of survival than those who receive chemotherapy alone.

For peritoneal mesothelioma, patients who undergo cytoreductive surgery (CRS) with HIPEC have significantly higher rates of survival. When combined with systemic chemotherapy as an adjuvant treatment, the 5-year survival rate of patients who undergo CRS + HIPEC can be as high as 67%.


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Other Survival Rate Factors

The survival rate for mesothelioma patients depend on a variety of factors. These include things such as the patient’s age, health, and the treatment they receive. Ever individual case is different, and one survival rate may not necessarily apply to a specific patient’s case.

Stage at Diagnosis

Mesothelioma staging can impact survival rate significantly. Patients diagnosed at an early stage (Stage I or Stage II) have a much higher survival rate than those diagnosed at a later stage (Stage III or Stage IV). For example, the 5-year survival rate for Stage 1 peritoneal mesothelioma patients is 87 percent, but only 29 percent for Stage IV.

Age of the Patient

Younger mesothelioma patients have higher rates of survival than older patients. This is due in part to the fact that older people in general have lower survival rates. In addition, with age comes a variety of health-related conditions that can make a mesothelioma diagnosis more deadly.


According to data provided by the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database, women have a higher 5-year survival rate (16%) than men (9.3%). It is not entirely clear why this is so, though some reasons may include that women are generally diagnosed at a younger age, they are more likely to get regular medical checkups, and they may be in better overall health.


There is some evidence that African-Americans who have mesothelioma have a slightly longer 5-year survival rate than Caucasian mesothelioma patients. However, because Caucasians have a much higher incidence of mesothelioma, there may not be enough cases of African-Americans who have the disease to make a substantive determination.


Several studies have shown that certain genetic factors can affect survival rates among patients. For example, mesothelioma patients who have certain mutations of BRCA1-associated protein-1 (BAP1) appear to have much better survival rates than other individuals who develop the disease, according to one study.

Top Mesothelioma Doctors in the Country
David Sugarbaker, M.D.

David Sugarbaker, M.D.

Professor of Surgery; Chief, General Thoracic Surgery; Director, Lung Institute at Baylor College of Medicine Map Marker Baylor College of Medicine
Raphael Bueno, M.D.

Raphael Bueno, M.D.

Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery; Co-Director, The Lung Center; Vice Chair of Surgery for Cancer and Translational Research; Director, International Mesothelioma Program Map Marker Brigham and Women's Hospital

A Note About Mesothelioma Survival Rate Statistics

Mesothelioma survival rates are determined by a standard measure known as the relative 5-year survival rate, which indicates how many patients are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed with the disease.

According to the most reliable studies, the relative 5-year survival rate for mesothelioma is about 9 percent, which is better than it was a decade or more ago. However, this simplified number does not tell the whole story. As shown above, survival rate can depend heavily on the type of mesothelioma a person has, what treatment options are available to them, and certain other health and lifestyle factors.

Many different clinical trials and other studies are being conducted on an ongoing basis to identify the factors that affect survival rate and, hopefully, discover ways to increase survival among mesothelioma patients. The results of these studies can be helpful for patients who meet certain criteria, but they may not be useful for determining an overall survival rate across the broad spectrum of mesothelioma patients.

Therefore, while survival rate can be a useful statistic in some cases, it can be misleading in others. Patients and loved ones should always rely on the advice and guidance provided by their doctors to understand how they can improve their prognosis and life expectancy, rather than looking to a single statistic.


American Cancer Society. Learn About Cancer: Malignant Mesothelioma.

Baumann, Francine, et al. “Mesothelioma patients with germline BAP1 mutations have 7-fold improved long-term survival.” Cancer Research. 2016; 76(2):206-215. DOI: 10.1093/carcin/bgu227

Faig, Jennifer, et al. “Changing Pattern in Malignant Mesothelioma Survival.” Translational Oncology. February 2015; 8(1):35-39. DOI: 10.1016/j.tranon.2014.12.002

Hassan, R. "Mesothelin Targeted Cancer Immunotherapy." European Journal of Cancer. August 2007. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2007.08.028

Kepenekian, V., et al. “Diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma: Evaluation of systemic chemotherapy with comprehensive treatment through the RENAPE Database ☆: Multi-Institutional Retrospective Study.” European Journal of Cancer. September 2016; 65:69-79. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2016.06.002

Milano, Michael T., and Zhang, Hong. “Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Population-Based Study of Survival.” Journal of Thoracic Oncology. November 2010; 5(11):1841-1848. DOI: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181f1cf2b

SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2013.” National Cancer Institute.

Oliveira, Guilherma H., et al. “Characteristics and Survival of Malignant Cardiac Tumors: A 40-Year Analysis of Over 500 Patients.” Circulation. 14 October 2015; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.016418

Sciarrillo, Rocco, et al. “Abstract 332: Spliceosome inhibition as novel strategy against diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.” Cancer Research. 15 July 2016; 76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 332. DOI: 10.1158/1538-7445.AM2016-332

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