Breast Cancer and Mesothelioma: Case Study Illustrates Diagnostic Challenge

breast cancer and mesothelioma

A newly published Croatian case illustrates how challenging it can sometimes be to distinguish between breast cancer and mesothelioma. The case involves a 61-year-old woman with what appeared to be breast cancer. Further study revealed that what the woman actually had was pleural mesothelioma. The mesothelioma had spread to her breast.  Breast cancer and mesothelioma cells look similar under the microscope. But they are very different. The authors of the new report caution doctors against the “pitfall” of mistaking one for the other.  Breast Metastasis is Rare Pleural mesothelioma occurs on the membrane that surrounds the lungs. It is rare for mesothelioma to spread to the breast. The most common place for mesothelioma cells to spread is the lungs.  Women … Continue reading Breast Cancer and Mesothelioma: Case Study Illustrates Diagnostic Challenge »

Proton Therapy for Mesothelioma: New Consensus Statement

proton therapy for mesothelioma

A group of international experts in radiation oncology say proton therapy for mesothelioma may be a safer alternative to standard radiotherapy.  Proton therapy uses protons instead of photons to destroy mesothelioma tumor cells.  The group evaluated both types of radiation therapy. They conclude that proton therapy for mesothelioma is less likely to damage the opposite lung and other organs.  What is Proton Therapy? Conventional radiation therapy for mesothelioma uses photons. A radiation oncologist delivers photons into the tumor with a linear accelerator. The photons or X-rays permanently damage the DNA. Damaged mesothelioma cells cannot grow and divide normally and the cells die.  The downside of standard radiation therapy is that normal tissue absorbs some of the damaging photons, too. This … Continue reading Proton Therapy for Mesothelioma: New Consensus Statement »

Opdivo for Mesothelioma Recurrence is Safe and Effective, Study Finds

Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence

A new Japanese study appears to show that Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence after surgery is safe and effective.  Opdivo (nivolumab) is an immunotherapy drug similar to Keytruda (pembrolizumab). It blocks a protein called PD-L1. PD-L1 helps mesothelioma cells avoid detection by the immune system.  In the latest study, 35 patients received Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence. More than three quarters of them experienced either stable or decreased disease. Understanding How Nivolumab Works Nivolumab is most often used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. It makes tumors more vulnerable to immune system attack. Pleural mesothelioma has many of the same characteristics as lung cancer. This is one reason researchers are hopeful about Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence.  The primary treatment for mesothelioma is … Continue reading Opdivo for Mesothelioma Recurrence is Safe and Effective, Study Finds »

Could ONCOS-102 Be a New First-Line Mesothelioma Treatment?

first-line mesothelioma treatment

A new first-line mesothelioma treatment has moved a step closer to becoming reality.  New data show that the immunotherapy drug ONCOS-102 continues to look promising, nine months into a Phase I/II clinical trial. The drug was especially helpful to mesothelioma patients who had not yet had any treatment.  Norweigian drug maker Targovax made the announcement earlier this month. ONCOS-102 is an experimental drug based on a modified virus. The virus helps it target mesothelioma cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The latest results show ONCOS-102 helps standard mesothelioma chemotherapy work better. Targovax says the next step will be a larger test of the combination as a first-line mesothelioma treatment.  Clinical Trial of ONCOS-102 The power of ONCOS-102 comes from the … Continue reading Could ONCOS-102 Be a New First-Line Mesothelioma Treatment? »

Best Practices for Pleural Mesothelioma: Updated Recommendations from Europe’s Top Doctors

best practices for pleural mesothelioma

Europe’s top mesothelioma experts have released new best practices for pleural mesothelioma. They include the latest recommendations on diagnosis, staging, monitoring, and treatment. The task force was made up of members from:  European Respiratory Society (ERS) European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS) European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) This is the first time the best practices for pleural mesothelioma were updated since 2009. The group based the new recommendations on mesothelioma data gathered in the last decade.  Mesothelioma Remains a Global Challenge Malignant mesothelioma is one of the world’s most challenging cancers. Doctors know that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. But many other things about this disease are a mystery.  Some people with a … Continue reading Best Practices for Pleural Mesothelioma: Updated Recommendations from Europe’s Top Doctors »

Herb-like Compound May Be Alternative Treatment for Mesothelioma

alternative treatment for mesothelioma

A man-made version of a traditional Chinese herb could be an alternative treatment for mesothelioma.  Turkish researchers have published a new study on a drug called halofuginone. The study shows the drug has significant anticancer effects on mesothelioma cells.  In an article in Cell Biology International, they explore how halofuginone affects mesothelioma and lung cancer cells.  Mesothelioma Patients Need Another Treatment Option Mesothelioma is an asbestos-linked cancer that is hard to treat. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type. Pleural mesothelioma grows quickly. It usually causes few symptoms until it is very advanced.  Chemotherapy is the main treatment. When that stops working, many patients look for an alternative treatment for mesothelioma.  Scientists are studying immunotherapy, new kinds of radiotherapy, and … Continue reading Herb-like Compound May Be Alternative Treatment for Mesothelioma »

Surgery for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Could Be Limited During Pandemic

Surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma

It may be harder this year for patients who need it to get surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma.  An international group called RENAPE keeps track of peritoneal cancers like mesothelioma. The group advises doctors on the best treatment practices. The group is advising hospitals to tighten the criteria for who can get surgery for peritoneal mesothelioma during the pandemic.  “The Covid-19 pandemic is profoundly changing the organization of healthcare access,” say French doctors writing about the RENAPE recommendations. “This is particularly so for peritoneal neoplastic diseases, for which curative treatment mobilizes substantial personnel, operating room and intensive care resources.” Mesothelioma Treatment Options Mesothelioma is a rare cancer associated with asbestos exposure. About a fifth of all mesothelioma cases are the peritoneal … Continue reading Surgery for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Could Be Limited During Pandemic »

Rare But Dangerous Side Effects of Opdivo for Mesothelioma

side effects of Opdivo

Australian researchers are warning of some rare but deadly side effects of Opdivo (nivolumab) for pleural mesothelioma.  They have just published a case report of a mesothelioma patient on nivolumab, a drug often used to treat lung cancer. The patient developed swelling of the heart and other muscles. The swelling lasted for months, even after they stopped taking the drug.  The case report details the healthcare teams’ effort to manage these potentially lethal side effects of Opdivo. They caution that other immune checkpoint inhibitors might cause similar complications. How Opdivo Fights Mesothelioma The primary treatment for mesothelioma is chemotherapy with pemetrexed (Alimta). Eventually, most patients stop responding to chemotherapy. At that point, doctors may turn to an immunotherapy drug like … Continue reading Rare But Dangerous Side Effects of Opdivo for Mesothelioma »

Predicting the Risk of Death from Mesothelioma

risk of death from mesothelioma

New research suggests that the risk of death from mesothelioma does not always hinge on disease type or overall health. Researchers in Brazil and at Mayo Clinic have identified some subtle mesothelioma risk factors that only pathologists can see. These factors go beyond the characteristics of the mesothelioma cells themselves. The study shows the environment around the tumor, the number and type of immune system cells at the tumor site, and even how many cells are in the tumor can all impact the risk of death from mesothelioma.  Understanding the Risk Factors for Mesothelioma Asbestos exposure causes most cases of mesothelioma. But not everyone who encounters asbestos gets cancer. Genes and certain lifestyle factors may influence whether an exposed person … Continue reading Predicting the Risk of Death from Mesothelioma »

Infections Can Help Fight Mesothelioma, Study Suggests

infections can help fight mesothelioma

There is new evidence to support the idea that infections can help fight mesothelioma.  Researchers at a Belgium University say mice with mesothelioma had slower-growing tumors and lived longer when they were injected with a virus.  The research team used a mouse virus called lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus. The new study suggests that infections can help fight mesothelioma by activating cancer-killing immune system cells.  The study could help doctors understand how to use the immune system to combat malignant mesothelioma in human patients.  The Immune System and Mesothelioma The immune system is constantly on the lookout for cells that could turn into cancer. When natural killer cells recognize a potential mesothelioma cell, they destroy it.  But mesothelioma cells produce proteins that … Continue reading Infections Can Help Fight Mesothelioma, Study Suggests »

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