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 »

Odds of Surviving Mesothelioma Equal in Rural and Urban Australia

odds of surviving mesothelioma

Living in a city and having a better socioeconomic status does not necessarily increase the odds of surviving mesothelioma.  That is the message from a 15-year Australian study of more than 300,000 cancer patients.  Some studies suggest cancer survival rates are lower in rural areas. But that does not appear to be the case for mesothelioma in Australia.  Unfortunately, the odds of surviving mesothelioma remain low no matter where a person lives. The Legacy of Asbestos in Australia Australia used to mine and export more asbestos than any other country. The mineral has been banned there since 2003, but Australian mesothelioma rates are still among the highest in the world.  Asbestos fibers are biopersistent. Once they are embedded in the … Continue reading Odds of Surviving Mesothelioma Equal in Rural and Urban Australia »

Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Results May Be Skewed by Narrow Inclusion Criteria

mesothelioma clinical trial results

Australian researchers say too many mesothelioma clinical trial results are skewed because they do not include enough “real world” patients.   By “real world patients”, they mean those who fit the profile of the typical mesothelioma patient. The researchers say some of the most important trials limit enrollment to younger people or those with few other health problems.  They say that leaves out a lot of patients. It also makes mesothelioma clinical trial results less relevant in practice.  How Clinical Trials Work Scientists typically test proposed new mesothelioma treatments on isolated cells in a lab first. If the results look promising, they will then run tests in animals to make sure the treatment is safe.   Before a medicine receives approval for … Continue reading Mesothelioma Clinical Trial Results May Be Skewed by Narrow Inclusion Criteria »

Global Asbestos Ban Needed More Than Ever, Study Says

asbestos ban

The authors of a new report on the “silent epidemic” of mesothelioma say a worldwide asbestos ban is more urgent now than ever. The researchers are from universities in Australia, New Zealand and Pennsylvania. They are experts in medicine, public health, and pathology.  Their new report sums up the global problem of asbestos and its link to deadly illnesses like lung cancer, asbestosis, and malignant mesothelioma. Australia and New Zealand are among the countries that no longer allow any asbestos in or out but they still have many cases of mesothelioma.  The US has yet to institute an asbestos ban. Malignant mesothelioma affects about 2,500 Americans a year.  The Link Between Asbestos and Mesothelioma Asbestos is the primary cause of … Continue reading Global Asbestos Ban Needed More Than Ever, Study Says »

Can These Compounds Protect Against the Toxic Effects of Asbestos?

toxic effects of asbestos

A recent study out of Australia suggests that compounds called zeolites might offer protection against the toxic effects of asbestos. Asbestos is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer for which there is no cure. There is no way to remove asbestos from the body after a person has been exposed. But the new study suggests that zeolites might counteract some of the toxic effects of asbestos.  If the impact can be validated in humans, it could one day change the outcomes for thousands of people at risk for mesothelioma.  What Are the Toxic Effects of Asbestos? Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral made up of long microscopic fibers. The size and shape of these … Continue reading Can These Compounds Protect Against the Toxic Effects of Asbestos? »

Asbestos and Lung Cancer: Study Highlights the Link

asbestos and lung cancer

A new report on asbestos and lung cancer says asbestos could be to blame for the cancer, even if the patient is a heavy smoker.  In smokers, lung cancer is usually attributed to tobacco use. But cancer researchers in Australia and Finland say that is not always right, especially if the patient has been exposed to asbestos. They propose new criteria for establishing the cause of lung cancer in asbestos-exposed people. The criteria would apply to both smokers and non-smokers. Mesothelioma is Not the Only Cancer Linked to Exposure Malignant mesothelioma is the cancer most often associated with asbestos exposure.  Mesothelioma is a rare but fast-growing and treatment-resistant cancer. Asbestos exposure is the only known cause of mesothelioma. Smoking increases … Continue reading Asbestos and Lung Cancer: Study Highlights the Link »

History of Asbestos Mining Blamed for Mesothelioma Epidemic

history of asbestos mining

Residents of Western Australia are still paying the price for the history of asbestos mining in the region. A new report from the University of Western Australia focuses on people in the region of the now-closed Wittenoom asbestos mine.  The report blames the mine and its products for an “ongoing epidemic of mortality from lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma”.  Australia’s Sad History of Asbestos Mining Asbestos is a mineral once prized for its strength and abundance. It was used around the world in thousands of products, including many construction materials.  Australia has a long history of asbestos mining and exportation. The country was once one of the world’s top producers of asbestos. The Australian Blue Asbestos Company in Wittenoom was … Continue reading History of Asbestos Mining Blamed for Mesothelioma Epidemic »

Signs of Peritoneal Mesothelioma After Radiotherapy

signs of peritoneal mesothelioma after radiotherapy

Japanese researchers are reminding doctors to watch for signs of peritoneal mesothelioma in people who have undergone past radiotherapy.  Many cancer patients undergo radiotherapy. Radiation disrupts the DNA inside cancer cells. This can help keep these malignant cells from replicating and spreading.  But radiation treatment also has a downside. It can cause cellular changes in healthy cells, too. This can cause side effects right away, or decades later.  As more people have radiation and survive, scientists at the Shinshu University School of Medicine say more of them could develop radiation-related mesothelioma later in life. But the signs of peritoneal mesothelioma years after radiation are easy to miss. Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case Study The new report is based on the case of … Continue reading Signs of Peritoneal Mesothelioma After Radiotherapy »

MicroRNA Signature for Mesothelioma Could Lead to Earlier Diagnosis

microRNA signature for mesothelioma

Australian researchers believe they have identified what amounts to a microRNA signature for mesothelioma in pleural effusion.  Pleural effusion is the name for excess lung fluid. Up to 90 percent of pleural mesothelioma patients develop a pleural effusion. Researchers at the University of Western Australia say this fluid contains a wealth of information that could improve mesothelioma diagnosis. They have recently identified a trio of RNA molecules in fluid samples that could serve as a microRNA signature for mesothelioma. This “signature” could help doctors distinguish mesothelioma from other types of cancer. The Challenge of Mesothelioma Diagnosis Pleural mesothelioma is notoriously hard to diagnose. The early symptoms of mesothelioma are similar to the symptoms of many other lung conditions. They are … Continue reading MicroRNA Signature for Mesothelioma Could Lead to Earlier Diagnosis »

Mesothelioma Risk From Home Renovation in The Spotlight

mesothelioma risk from home renovation

The case of an Australian man is highlighting the mesothelioma risk from home renovation when asbestos is present.  Forty-two year old Matthew Werfel recently won a lawsuit against Amaca, the asbestos producer previously known as James Hardie. The company manufactured the asbestos-containing cement sheets that led to Werfel’s pleural mesothelioma. The record $3 million payout is an expensive warning to other DIY homeowners about the potential mesothelioma risk from home renovation. Asbestos in Construction Products Asbestos is a mineral that has to be mined from the ground. As early as the 1930’s, companies like James Hardie recognized its potential value as a construction material. Asbestos is strong, plentiful and resistant to heat and corrosion. It was used for decades to … Continue reading Mesothelioma Risk From Home Renovation in The Spotlight »

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