The case of a peritoneal mesothelioma patient who was diagnosed at just 45-years-old is drawing attention to the role of genetics in this aggressive asbestos-linked malignancy. Sometimes referred to as “asbestos cancer”, malignant mesothelioma is almost always connected with known exposure to the fibrous mineral—often in a work environment. But even though most mesothelioma cases can be traced back to asbestos, not all asbestos-exposed people go on to develop malignant mesothelioma. Because of this, scientists began to believe that, in mesothelioma as in so many other types of cancer, there were likely other factors at play. Early Mesothelioma, Genes, and Asbestos Exposure In most cases, mesothelioma takes decades to develop, meaning that most patients are not diagnosed with mesothelioma until they … Continue reading Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case Highlights Importance of Genetic Testing
A new study suggests that asbestos, the primary trigger for almost all cases of malignant mesothelioma, may do more than cause the disease—it may also play a role in how quickly it grows and spreads. Malignant mesothelioma is typically a disease of old age. Once inhaled or swallowed, it can take decades for asbestos fibers to work their way into tissues and wreak havoc with the DNA of mesothelial cells. But the new joint Italian/American study suggests that that time may be significantly shortened in cases of heavy exposure. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and the National Tumor Institute in Milan have found that the younger a person is at the time of their mesothelioma diagnosis, the … Continue reading New Study: Asbestos May Drive Mesothelioma Progression
As part of what they call the “new era” of mesothelioma immunotherapy research, doctors in Ohio and Florida have just published the case report of a man whose pleural mesothelioma was stopped in its tracks with the drug nivolumab. The case is detailed in the latest issue of the American Journal of Case Reports by researchers at the University of Florida and The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. Details of the Mesothelioma Case Report The patient in question had been diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that typically carries a poor prognosis, even with aggressive treatment. In fact, even though chemotherapy with a combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed (Alimta) is considered the standard-of-care for malignant mesothelioma, fewer than 4 … Continue reading Immunotherapy Drug Produces ‘Exceptional and Sustained Response’ in Mesothelioma Patient
A new study suggests that the BAP1 gene, which has been linked to several kinds of cancer including malignant mesothelioma, may not be the only genetic risk factor for the asbestos cancer. Mesothelioma, a fast-growing membrane cancer, typically only occurs in people who have a history of asbestos exposure. But scientists have long wondered why some asbestos-exposed people go on to develop pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma while others don’t. Extensive mesothelioma research, much of it focused on a mesothelioma “epidemic” among extended families in a particular region in Turkey, discovered that many family members who contracted mesothelioma shared a mutation on the BAP1 gene. This genetic anomaly has also been associated with an increased risk for uveal melanoma, renal cell carcinoma … Continue reading BAP1 Not the Only Genetic Risk Factor for Mesothelioma
A new study suggests that drinking too much could raise the risk for developing malignant mesothelioma or another type of cancer. Surprisingly, not drinking quite enough appears to do the same thing. The study was conducted by public health researchers in Northern Ireland and at the National Cancer Institute in the US. It included data from nearly 100,000 adults between 55 and 74 participating in the US Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial. To better understand how alcohol impacts cancer development, researchers assessed the overall risk of death among the study subjects, as well as the risk of death specifically from cancer, and compared it with reported average lifetime alcohol consumption. “In comparison to lifetime light alcohol … Continue reading Does Alcohol Increase Mesothelioma Risk?
Fatigue, poor sleep, and reduced appetite are common complaints among people undergoing treatment for malignant mesothelioma. But new guidelines from Australia suggest that there is a powerful, natural way to address many of these problems: exercise. In an official position statement published in the Medical Journal of Australia, the country’s Clinical Oncology Society encourages cancer patients and their doctors to see physical exercise as a vital part of staying healthy and managing symptoms during treatment. In the COSA statement, the authors point to the significant amount of clinical research showing that exercise is “a safe and effective intervention to counteract the adverse physical and psychological effects of cancer and its treatment.” The authors say the intention of the statement is … Continue reading Exercise Can Help Patients Manage Mesothelioma Symptoms
A new survey suggests that medical marijuana is gaining acceptance among doctors who treat malignant mesothelioma and other types of cancer, opening the door for more patients to explore its potential to manage their disease. The survey of 400 oncologists conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology found that as many as 80 percent of the 237 respondents have discussed medical marijuana with their patients. The survey found this was usually because a patient brought it up. Unfortunately for mesothelioma patients, the survey also revealed that fewer than one in three doctors felt knowledgeable enough about medical marijuana to make a recommendation. “We need to bridge this gap so oncologists have the unbiased information they need to assist with … Continue reading Medical Marijuana No Longer Tabu Among Mesothelioma Doctors
There may be a new treatment option on the horizon for mesothelioma patients whose cancer has come back again after treatment. Researchers in the UK are even predicting that this drug could become the new standard of care for relapsed malignant mesothelioma. The drug is nivolumab, a PD-1 inhibitor sold under the brand name Opdivo. Already approved for the treatment of recurrent non-small cell lung cancer, nivolumab has been shown in recent clinical trials to reduce the size of mesothelioma tumors and may even extend mesothelioma survival. Opdivo in the News If you think you have been hearing more about nivolumab in the news lately, you are right. Laboratory results have suggested that this immunotherapy drug could be one of … Continue reading Nivolumab a ‘Rising Star’ for Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment?
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
Researchers at the Maryland Proton Therapy Treatment Center say a highly-targeted version of proton beam radiation could be the future of radiotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma. In a new journal article, doctors at the center detail the evolution of radiation treatment for pleural mesothelioma, from standard photon-based therapy to targeted proton therapy. “Radiation therapy has historically been used [for mesothelioma] only in the palliative setting or as adjuvant therapy after extrapleural pneumonectomy,” notes the report. But the researchers go on to say that radiotherapy advances such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and a more precise form of proton beam therapy called pencil-beam scanning, are changing the value of radiotherapy for mesothelioma patients. Radiation’s Role in Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment Radiation works … Continue reading Radiation for Mesothelioma: Could Proton Therapy Be the Answer?