Surgery-Related Inflammation and Mesothelioma Outcomes

A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say they have come up with better way to measure the effects of surgery-related inflammation on subsequent mesothelioma therapies. Their results could help other scientists predict the effectiveness of new and existing adjuvant mesothelioma treatments. Combination Therapy for Mesothelioma Because malignant mesothelioma is so difficult to treat, most patients are treated with a combination of different therapies.   While not all patients are candidates for surgery, a number of studies have suggested that mesothelioma patients who do have surgery as one of their treatments tend to live longer than those who only have other types of treatments. The challenge is that surgery itself can be so disruptive to the body that … Continue reading Surgery-Related Inflammation and Mesothelioma Outcomes »

How Asbestos Turns Healthy Cells into Mesothelioma Tumors

Scientists are a step closer to understanding how malignant mesothelioma may take hold in the body thanks to new research from the University of Vermont. A team of pathologists, biologists, and geneticists have released a report suggesting that exosomes, tiny vesicles secreted by cells, undergo dangerous changes when the cells encounter asbestos fibers. According to the researchers, exosomes from asbestos-exposed cells can carry gene-altering cargo that may then go on to “infect” cells on the mesothelial membranes where mesothelioma tumors start. Exosomes and Mesothelioma Risk To test the theory that these exosomes may prompt changes that results in pleural mesothelioma, researchers focused on lung epithelial cells and macrophages (white blood cells). These are typically the first cells to come in … Continue reading How Asbestos Turns Healthy Cells into Mesothelioma Tumors »

New Technology Could Change How Mesothelioma Treatment is Monitored

New technology could eventually make it easier, less painful, and less expensive to track the progress of patients undergoing treatment for malignant mesothelioma and other cancers. A research team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison pharmacy professor Seungpyo Hong has developed what they say is a more efficient method for capturing free-floating cancer cells in the blood. The developers say the system is far more effective than existing systems at capturing these hard-to-find circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and could be used to supplement other technologies for tracking cancer treatment. Mesothelioma Biopsy vs CTC Tracking Although mesothelioma therapies have advanced in recent years, there is still no cure for the asbestos-linked cancer. As scientists work to develop new kinds of treatments like … Continue reading New Technology Could Change How Mesothelioma Treatment is Monitored »

Simple Blood Test Detects Mesothelioma Progression

Malignant mesothelioma patients may not need multiple CT scans to tell whether their cancer has progressed in the months after  chemotherapy treatment. UK researchers say a simple blood test to check their levels of the protein mesothelin costs less, requires fewer hospital visits, and is 96 percent accurate in most mesothelioma patients.   Measuring Mesothelioma Progression The study was conducted by scientists at the University of Bristol who recruited 41 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma to participate for at least a year after the end of their treatment. The mesothelioma patients included in the study had received either chemotherapy or best supportive care. At the end of chemotherapy (or from baseline in the patients receiving best supportive care), patients had … Continue reading Simple Blood Test Detects Mesothelioma Progression »

Protein May Help Predict Complications After Peritoneal Mesothelioma Surgery

Researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center say they may have found a way to help predict which peritoneal mesothelioma patients are most likely to develop complications after cytoreductive surgery and intraperitoneal chemotherapy. Cytoreductive surgery to remove as much of a mesothelioma tumor as possible, followed by a rinse of heated chemotherapy drugs in the abdomen is known as CRS + HIPEC. It has become a standard treatment for people with the abdominal form of the asbestos cancer known as malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. In a new study, researchers analyzed cases of all patients who underwent CRS + HIPEC at MD Anderson between June of 2014 and February of 2016 to find commonalities among those who did not do well. Their findings … Continue reading Protein May Help Predict Complications After Peritoneal Mesothelioma Surgery »

Immune System Changes Could Signal Mesothelioma Risk

The state of an asbestos-exposed person’s immune system might give doctors clues about how likely they are to develop malignant mesothelioma. It’s a fear for any person who has worked around asbestos – that one day they may develop the asbestos-linked cancer, mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma can take decades to develop, causes few symptoms at first, and is extremely hard to treat. Right now, there is no definitive way to screen for it. Even making a mesothelioma diagnosis is a challenge. Now, a team of occupational medicine experts in Japan and China have released an article in Environmental Health and Preventive Medicine detailing a list of biomarkers they believe may indicate asbestos-induced immune changes that could result in mesothelioma. How Asbestos … Continue reading Immune System Changes Could Signal Mesothelioma Risk »

Study Highlights Challenge of Selecting Patients for Mesothelioma Immunotherapy

A new study is casting some doubt on the value of a protein called PD-L1 as a way to select mesothelioma patients for targeted immunotherapy. Several of the most promising new treatments for malignant mesothelioma, including pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and avelumab (Avastin), are designed to inhibit PD-L1, a protein cells used to evade detection by the immune system. PD-L1 inhibitors like Keytruda have become an important focus of mesothelioma research in the past two years. But a new Mayo Clinic study suggests that PD-L1 may not be the miracle target that scientists and mesothelioma patients have been hoping for. That is because PD-L1 levels can sometimes vary widely, depending on when and from where the tissue samples were collected. PD-L1 Expression … Continue reading Study Highlights Challenge of Selecting Patients for Mesothelioma Immunotherapy »

Better Nutrition Could Mean Longer Survival for Elderly Mesothelioma Patients

Could eating better improve elderly patient’s chances of surviving malignant pleural mesothelioma? Another new study suggests that it may. An article in the journal Surgical Oncology found that lung cancer patients who score low on a nutritional status assessment tool called the Geriatric Nutritional Risk Index (GNRI) have worse outcomes after surgery. The GNRI is a simple tool based on weight and levels of the protein albumin in blood serum. Albumin nourishes the tissues and transports substances like vitamins, hormones, and minerals throughout the body. A number of previous studies have linked GNRI status to poor outcomes in other conditions including esophageal cancer, chronic limb ischemia, and people on dialysis. The new study is the first to find a link … Continue reading Better Nutrition Could Mean Longer Survival for Elderly Mesothelioma Patients »

Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma: Who Are the Best Candidates?

Immunotherapy is emerging as one of the most promising new treatment approaches for a wide range of cancers, including malignant pleural mesothelioma, the treatment-resistant lung-related cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Every year, more than 2,500 Americans are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Most will die of the illness within 18 months, even with the most advanced chemotherapeutic, radiotherapeutic, and surgical treatments. But immunotherapy, which recruits the body’s own immune system to help fight the cancer, may be a more effective option for some mesothelioma patients. Now, a new study conducted by researchers in Italy, with support from California-based Genentech, suggests that there may be a way to identify which mesothelioma patients are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy. Molecular and Histopathological … Continue reading Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma: Who Are the Best Candidates? »

FGFR Inhibitors May Offer New Way to Treat Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Drugs that inhibit a particular cell signaling pathway might offer a new way to help treat the intractable asbestos cancer, malignant mesothelioma. Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) is a tyrosine kinase signaling pathway that plays a fundamental role in the development of embryos, tissue regeneration, and the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Recent evidence suggests that it may also impact the development of cancers such as pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. Now, research conducted in London and The Netherlands further suggests that a subset of mesothelioma patients may be especially sensitive to drugs that interrupt the FGFR pathway. Testing FGFR Sensitivity A research team of scientists at Netherlands Cancer Institute and University College London used a range of tests, including … Continue reading FGFR Inhibitors May Offer New Way to Treat Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma »

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