“Exceptional Survival” in Some Patients on Nivolumab for Mesothelioma

nivolumab for mesothelioma

A real-world study of Dutch patients suggests that nivolumab for mesothelioma can dramatically extend survival in the right patients.  Nivolumab is sold under the brand name Opdivo. It is a type of immunotherapy. It works by making cancer cells more vulnerable to attack. The FDA approved nivolumab to treat non-small cell lung cancer and some other cancers.  It is still in the testing phase for malignant mesothelioma. The new report suggests that careful patient selection is the key to making nivolumab for mesothelioma work.  Why Nivolumab for Mesothelioma? Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer caused by past exposure to asbestos. Like other types of cancer, it has ways of protecting itself from immune system attack. A protein called PD-L1 is … Continue reading “Exceptional Survival” in Some Patients on Nivolumab for Mesothelioma »

Recurrent Pleural Effusion Could Signal High Mesothelioma Risk

recurrent pleural effusion

The case of a Japanese woman with recurrent pleural effusion suggests the problem could be a precursor of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pleural effusion is a build-up of fluid on the space between the layers of the membrane that surrounds the lungs. It is common with mesothelioma and some other cancers.  In the new case study, the patient had recurrent pleural effusion for 15 years before she developed mesothelioma in situ. This is the earliest stage of asbestos cancer, before it becomes invasive. Her doctors say patients with similar problems should be tested for BAP1 loss and other signs of mesothelioma in situ.  Understanding Recurrent Pleural Effusion Pleural effusion is a side effect of several conditions including heart disease and cancer. … Continue reading Recurrent Pleural Effusion Could Signal High Mesothelioma Risk »

Novel Strategy May Improve Immuno-radiotherapy for Mesothelioma

Immuno-radiotherapy for Mesothelioma

Canadian scientists say suppressing certain kinds of immune system cells could improve the effectiveness of immuno-radiotherapy for mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a fast-growing membrane cancer caused by asbestos. Doctors have not found a single therapy that can beat it. For most patients, a combination of treatments offer the best survival odds. Immuno-radiotherapy for mesothelioma combines two types of treatments. Immunotherapy drugs activate the immune system while radiation attacks the tumor directly.  Mesothelioma tumors fight back against both kinds of treatments. But researchers testing a combination of the two may have found a way to make it even more powerful. How Immuno-Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma Works Malignant mesothelioma is one of the most treatment-resistant cancers. Doctors have to attack it from many different … Continue reading Novel Strategy May Improve Immuno-radiotherapy for Mesothelioma »

Pandemic-Related Mesothelioma Treatment Delays Could Impact Outcomes

mesothelioma treatment delays

Mesothelioma treatment delays that happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic will probably impact survival rates for some patients.  A new study of Canadian lung cancer patients found that more than half of them stopped or delayed treatment because of concerns about the virus this spring. Pleural mesothelioma is a lung-related cancer. Like lung cancer patients, mesothelioma patients face a higher risk of virus-related complications because they already have breathing problems.  But mesothelioma is also a fast-growing cancer. Most patients get several kinds of treatment at the same time. Mesothelioma treatment delays may give tumors a chance to grow unchecked.  A Catch-22 for Mesothelioma Patients Mesothelioma patients and others with lung diseases have had to make some difficult decisions because of … Continue reading Pandemic-Related Mesothelioma Treatment Delays Could Impact Outcomes »

Exercise Unlikely to Prevent Mesothelioma Development

prevent mesothelioma development

A new Australian study suggests that exercise is unlikely to prevent mesothelioma development in people who have been exposed to asbestos. The study focused on asbestos-exposed mice. Asbestos cancer can take decades to develop. Researchers thought the long latency period might offer an opportunity to prevent mesothelioma development with physical activity.   But even mice that had no mesothelioma symptoms were less likely than mice their same age to be physically active. How Mesothelioma Develops Over Time Malignant mesothelioma has one of the longest latency periods of any cancer. The latency period is the time between exposure to a carcinogen and development of the disease. Scientists know that asbestos can cause mesothelioma. But they have not found a way to prevent … Continue reading Exercise Unlikely to Prevent Mesothelioma Development »

Medical Appointments for Advanced Mesothelioma Patients: How Much is Too Much?

medical appointments

A pair of researchers in New Zealand say the typical number of in-person medical appointments for people with untreatable pleural mesothelioma may be more stressful than helpful. Their study focused on lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma patients with no active treatment options. They found that what most of these patients really want is reliable information, hope, and a positive relationship with their medical team.  The report suggests that doctors could meet many of these with fewer visits or virtual medical appointments. Coping with Advanced Mesothelioma Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare but highly aggressive lung-related cancer. Mesothelioma starts on the lining around the lungs. It can quickly spread into the lungs and to other organs in the chest.  Most patients … Continue reading Medical Appointments for Advanced Mesothelioma Patients: How Much is Too Much? »

Manipulating “Fight or Flight” Could Impact Effectiveness of Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma

Effectiveness of Immunotherapy

Doctors at the University of Connecticut may have found a way to influence the effectiveness of immunotherapy by manipulating the body’s fight or flight response. The finding could have a bearing on the treatment of advanced mesothelioma.   Researchers used mice to confirm the connection between the sympathetic nervous system and the body’s ability to fight off cancer. The sympathetic nervous system regulates the “fight or flight” response to stress.  The report shows that this response impacts the development of natural killer cells. Drugs that alter that response might change the effectiveness of immunotherapy.  What is the Sympathetic Nervous System? When the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) releases a cascade of hormones and chemicals. These hormones increase … Continue reading Manipulating “Fight or Flight” Could Impact Effectiveness of Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma »

Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields: New Hope for Mesothelioma?

Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields

There is hope that a new lung cancer trial combining Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields could lead to a new treatment for pleural mesothelioma.  Recent studies show Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is one of the most promising immunotherapy drugs against malignant mesothelioma. Electrical device Tumor Treating Fields is only the second treatment to receive FDA approval for mesothelioma.  This summer, the manufacturers of these two treatments announced they would team up. They will test Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The results could impact the future of mesothelioma treatment, too. Two Promising Therapies: Keytruda Keytruda is an immunotherapy drug. It blocks a protein called PD-1. Many types of cancer cells overproduce PD-1 to evade the immune … Continue reading Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields: New Hope for Mesothelioma? »

Standard Mesothelioma Chemotherapy with Avastin: More Good News

Standard Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Another new study suggests that adding a third drug to standard mesothelioma chemotherapy might lead to better treatment outcomes.  Several recent studies show immunotherapy drugs like Keytruda and IMFINZI may boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy.  The newest report focuses on the monoclonal antibody, bevacizumab (Avastin). Japanese researchers back up what others have found. They say most patients did well on a combination of Avastin and standard mesothelioma chemotherapy.  Drug Blocks Blood Vessel Formation Like all body tissues, mesothelioma tumors need blood vessels to grow and thrive. Angiogenesis is the process by which tumors create their own new blood vessels.  Avastin works by blocking this process. Without an adequate blood supply, a mesothelioma tumor may be more susceptible to standard mesothelioma … Continue reading Standard Mesothelioma Chemotherapy with Avastin: More Good News »

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor May Change the Standard Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor

The immune checkpoint inhibitor durvalumab could become a standard part of first-line mesothelioma treatment if the results of a new study hold true in a Phase 3 trial.  Australian researchers have become the latest to show the benefit of adding durvalumab to first-line chemotherapy for pleural mesothelioma. Chemotherapy is usually the first thing doctors use to treat pleural mesothelioma. But as many as half of mesothelioma patients do not respond to it. Researchers around the world are hopeful that adding an immune checkpoint inhibitor like durvalumab will lead to better response rates. What is an Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor? Mesothelioma cells survive and thrive in part because they have ways of protecting themselves. Chemotherapy drugs are less likely to hurt them … Continue reading Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor May Change the Standard Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma »

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