Study Highlights Treatment Disparities in Female Mesothelioma Patients

Female Mesothelioma Patients

Female mesothelioma patients are less likely to have surgery and other aggressive treatments than male patients are, but they still tend to live longer. That’s according to a nine-year study of nearly 19,000 pleural mesothelioma patients.  Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine led the study. The team used the National Cancer Database to identify pleural mesothelioma cases diagnosed between 2004 and 2013. The study included more than four thousand female mesothelioma patients.  The conclusion is that there are serious disparities in the way doctors treat men and women with malignant mesothelioma. Gender Differences in Mesothelioma Incidence Exposure to asbestos is the primary cause of malignant mesothelioma. Although it can affect either gender, most mesothelioma patients are … Continue reading Study Highlights Treatment Disparities in Female Mesothelioma Patients »

Long Term Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival with NIPEC

Long Term Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival

A new report suggests that long term peritoneal mesothelioma survival may be possible with a treatment called NIPEC and the drug paclitaxel.  NIPEC stands for normothermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy. It is similar to the heated chemotherapy that many peritoneal mesothelioma patients now get. But NIPEC is delivered through a catheter over time and at room temperature.  The new article details the long term peritoneal mesothelioma survival of six patients on NIPEC with paclitaxel. It comes from one the nation’s leading experts in this form of mesothelioma, Paul Sugarbaker, MD.  Even though the sample size is small, Dr. Sugarbaker says the results are impressive enough to warrant further study.  HIPEC and Mesothelioma Treatment Peritoneal mesothelioma accounts for about 20 percent of mesothelioma … Continue reading Long Term Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival with NIPEC »

FDA Approval of Keytruda will Help Some Mesothelioma Patients

FDA Approval of Keytruda

The FDA approval of Keytruda this month may help some patients in their battle against asbestos cancer.  Keytruda is the brand name for the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. The FDA first approved Keytruda as a first-line treatment for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. That initial approval came in 2017. The new FDA approval of Keytruda is for treatment of specific kinds of malignant tumors. Eligible patients must have unresectable mesothelioma and no other treatment options.  How Keytruda Fights Mesothelioma Keytruda is an immune checkpoint inhibitor. It blocks a protein called PD-L1. Mesothelioma cells use PD-L1 to avoid immune system attack. Drugs like Keytruda unmask these hiding cells and make them more vulnerable to treatment.  But not all patients with mesothelioma will … Continue reading FDA Approval of Keytruda will Help Some Mesothelioma Patients »

Artificial Intelligence in Mesothelioma Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment Planning

Artificial Intelligence

Two newly-published studies highlight some of the ways that artificial intelligence may help with the diagnosis and treatment of malignant mesothelioma.  The first study focuses on machine learning algorithms for mesothelioma diagnosis. Researchers used data from Turkey, which has a high rate of mesothelioma among families.  A separate study from New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center demonstrates the role that artificial intelligence can play in planning mesothelioma radiotherapy. Both studies suggest that machine learning may be a valuable tool to help doctors tackle asbestos cancer.  How Does Machine Learning Work? Artificial intelligence refers to intelligence generated by a computer. Like people, computers have to “learn” before they can provide intelligent answers to medical questions.  In both of the new studies, … Continue reading Artificial Intelligence in Mesothelioma Diagnosis, Prognosis, and Treatment Planning »

Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatment with Ramucirumab

second-line mesothelioma treatment

A combination of ramucirumab (CYRAMZA) and gemcitabine creates a promising second-line mesothelioma treatment. New research shows the combination nearly doubled survival in a group of patients whose tumors kept growing with standard therapy.  Italian researchers shared their findings at the virtual annual meeting of ASCO. ASCO is one of the largest gatherings of cancer doctors in the US. First-Line Mesothelioma Treatment Failure For most mesothelioma patients, chemotherapy with Alimta is the first-line treatment. This does keep the cancer in check for some patients. But after a while, mesothelioma tumors almost always come back. Chemotherapy only extends survival by about four months.  Doctors have tested many different approaches to second-line mesothelioma treatment.  Some of the therapies tested are: Additional rounds of … Continue reading Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatment with Ramucirumab »

Immunotherapy with Durvalumab: Record Survival in Inoperable Mesothelioma

immunotherapy drug durvalumab

There is new evidence that the immunotherapy drug durvalumab may make chemotherapy more effective for people with inoperable pleural mesothelioma. Researchers recently achieved record mesothelioma survival times with this combination. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with a poor prognosis. Surgery can sometimes help if it is caught early. But only a small percentage of patients are candidates for mesothelioma surgery. Most have chemotherapy, which is only moderately effective.  But new research presented to the nation’s largest gathering of cancer doctors shows the immunotherapy drug durvalumab may help.  Doctors at Johns Hopkins combined durvalumab with standard mesothelioma chemotherapy. Study participants lived an average of 8 months longer than is typical with this disease.  If further studies confirm the benefit, it could … Continue reading Immunotherapy with Durvalumab: Record Survival in Inoperable Mesothelioma »

Chemoperfusion Treatment for Mesothelioma: Chemo Without the Side Effects?

Chemoperfusion Treatment for Mesothelioma

New research suggests that chemoperfusion treatment for mesothelioma may buy patients more time without the side effects of traditional chemotherapy.  Chemoperfusion treatment involves injecting cancer-killing drugs directly into the vessels that feed a pleural mesothelioma tumor.  The research was presented during a virtual session of the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual meeting. Researchers showed how this novel approach could improve quality of life for mesothelioma patients.  Limitations of Chemotherapy Pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer with few treatment options. Most mesothelioma patients start with chemotherapy. Alimta (pemetrexed) is the primary chemotherapy drug for mesothelioma.  But chemotherapy has drawbacks that chemoperfusion treatment for mesothelioma might avoid.  Conventional chemotherapy circulates drugs throughout the body. That means that normal cells can absorb them … Continue reading Chemoperfusion Treatment for Mesothelioma: Chemo Without the Side Effects? »

Black Mesothelioma Patients Less Likely to Receive Surgery

black mesothelioma patients

Black mesothelioma patients are less likely to receive potentially-life saving surgery than white patients, even though they have worse short-term mortality.   That is the finding of a new study published in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.  Mount Sinai researchers used data from the National Cancer Institute to compare mesothelioma treatment trends among 2550 patients.  They concluded that both white and black mesothelioma patients live longer with surgery, but white patients tend to get the most benefit. Surgical Options for Malignant Mesothelioma Malignant mesothelioma is a membrane cancer. It can occur in different places in the body. The type of treatment varies depending on where the cancer occurs. For mesothelioma in the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma), surgery with a rinse … Continue reading Black Mesothelioma Patients Less Likely to Receive Surgery »

Pleural Effusion in Mesothelioma: Comparing Solutions

pleural effusion in mesothelioma

A new study says, when it comes to pleural effusion in mesothelioma, the two main solutions are pretty equal – with one exception.  Pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid in the space around the lungs. Over time, this fluid restricts the lungs and makes it hard to breathe. The problem is common in several types of cancer, including malignant mesothelioma.  In a new report, Taiwanese and Hong Kong researchers compared the two primary ways of dealing with pleural effusion in mesothelioma. They conclude that the two methods work equally well. But one of them usually means a longer hospital stay. Understanding Pleural Effusion in Mesothelioma The pleura are layers of thin membranes that surround the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma tumors … Continue reading Pleural Effusion in Mesothelioma: Comparing Solutions »

Promising Data on New Mesothelioma Pill Presented at National Conference

new mesothelioma pill

Doctors researching a new mesothelioma pill presented research on the drug at a national virtual conference in May.  The ASCO conference is one of the most important gatherings of cancer doctors in the country. This year’s online meeting gave them a chance to safely learn about new cancer research. Only the most notable research is presented at the conference. The new mesothelioma pill made the cut because research suggests it can help patients with asbestos cancer live longer.  How the New Medication Works Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Epizyme makes the new mesothelioma pill, called tazemetostat (Tazverik). The oral drug blocks the protein EZH2. This protein inhibits the genes that are supposed to suppress tumor growth. Over-expression of EZH2 has been linked to … Continue reading Promising Data on New Mesothelioma Pill Presented at National Conference »

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