Relapsed Mesothelioma Patients Live Longer on Opdivo in Phase 3 Trial

relapsed mesothelioma patients

A multi-center British study suggests that the cancer drug Opdivo (nivolumab) may be a solid second-line treatment option for relapsed mesothelioma patients.  The Phase-3 trial involved mesothelioma patients from 24 UK hospitals. All had an ECOG score of 0 or 1, meaning they were in reasonably good health overall.  All of the patients had first-line treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy. Then their cancer came back. There is no approved treatment for relapsed mesothelioma patients. So these patients enrolled in the nivolumab trial.  Although Opdivo is not a cure for mesothelioma, the results of the news trial show it could extend survival for the right patients.  How Does Opdivo Work? Nivolumab is sold under the brand name Opdivo. It is an immunotherapy … Continue reading Relapsed Mesothelioma Patients Live Longer on Opdivo in Phase 3 Trial »

Quinacrine for Mesothelioma? Anti-Malaria Drug May Help Patients with This Gene Mutation

quinacrine for mesothelioma

Another study on quinacrine for mesothelioma suggests that the once-popular anti-malaria drug might help a subset of patients with a particular gene mutation. Quinacrine is sold under the brand name Atabrine. It used to be the main anti-malaria drug but most doctors now prefer chloroquine.  Last fall, Penn State research on quinacrine for mesothelioma showed the drug has a “high degree of cytotoxicity” on its own. The newest study initially focused on the potential for synergistic effects of quinacrine and chemotherapy. It turns out that the drug can make cisplatin more lethal to mesothelioma cells. Further tests showed that cells with inactivated NF2 mutations were even more sensitive to quinacrine. As many as 60 percent of mesothelioma patients may have … Continue reading Quinacrine for Mesothelioma? Anti-Malaria Drug May Help Patients with This Gene Mutation »

Empyema After Mesothelioma Surgery: Avoiding a Serious Complication

empyema after mesothelioma surgery

A new study of a rare condition called empyema after mesothelioma surgery shows it can dramatically lengthen hospital stay and shorten survival.  Empyema refers to pockets of pus in the pleural space around the lungs. It is the result of a lingering bacterial infection. Empyema is a serious complication in people who have surgery for pleural mesothelioma.  The new study comes from the International Mesothelioma Program at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital. It finds that patients with empyema after mesothelioma surgery live half as long as those without it. They also spend a lot more time in the hospital.  The researchers say air leaking from the lungs can raise the risk for this complication. In their new report, they offer … Continue reading Empyema After Mesothelioma Surgery: Avoiding a Serious Complication »

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Recurrent Mesothelioma: Early Adoption Gave Them Traction

immune checkpoint inhibitors for recurrent mesothelioma

A new report shows that doctors started using immune checkpoint inhibitors for recurrent mesothelioma at least two years before the practice was officially sanctioned. This early adoption gave ICIs traction to quickly become part of clinical practice.  Immune checkpoint inhibitors block mesothelioma’s built-in resistance to immune system attack. They are among the most promising approaches to combating this intractable cancer.  University of Pennsylvania researchers recently ran a retrospective study on immune checkpoint inhibitors for recurrent mesothelioma. The study looked at real-world mesothelioma patients at several different medical centers. The researchers found that, even though the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) did not revise it’s guidelines to include immune checkpoint inhibitors as a second-line treatment until 2017, doctors were using them … Continue reading Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors for Recurrent Mesothelioma: Early Adoption Gave Them Traction »

Access to Multi-Modality Mesothelioma Treatment Limited for Uninsured & Rural Residents

access to multi-modality mesothelioma treatment

A new study shows a person’s insurance status and where they live often impact their access to multi-modality mesothelioma treatment. This can have an impact on their survival.  Researchers at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center conducted the new study. They shared their findings at the recent virtual world conference of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.  The study found that access to multi-modality mesothelioma treatment was more common in patients with private insurance or Medicare. It was also more common among those who lived closer to larger medical centers.  People who lived further out or who did not have insurance often did not receive the treatments that offer the best odds of mesothelioma survival. … Continue reading Access to Multi-Modality Mesothelioma Treatment Limited for Uninsured & Rural Residents »

Statin Drugs Support Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma, New Study Finds

statin drug

There’s more evidence that statin drugs may improve the effectiveness of mesothelioma immunotherapy.  The new study, led by Korean biochemists, is not the first to show that these anti-cholesterol medications may help mesothelioma patients. But this one goes a step further to explain why they help.  Researchers focused on the impact of statin drugs on PD-1 expression. PD-1 is a protein that protects mesothelioma cells against immune system attack.  The findings suggest that, by lowering PD-1 levels, anti-cholesterol drugs may play a greater role in the future of mesothelioma treatment.  PD-1 and Mesothelioma Immunotherapy PD-1 is an immune checkpoint protein that occurs on the surface of cells. Normally, it helps keep the immune system from attacking healthy tissues. But mesothelioma … Continue reading Statin Drugs Support Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma, New Study Finds »

HITOC for Mesothelioma: Benefits May Outweigh the Risk

HITOC for mesothelioma

The benefits of a localized chemotherapy regimen known as HITOC for mesothelioma outweigh the small risk of kidney failure for most patients.  That is the conclusion of a new study published in the journal Cancers. German researchers conducted a retrospective review of the medical literature on HITOC (also called HITHOC) in pleural mesothelioma patients.  They were most interested in patients who developed kidney problems after the procedure. This is a known risk with HITOC for mesothelioma. But the study suggests that most patients benefit from this type of chemotherapy in spite of the risk. Localized Treatment Versus Systemic Treatment Pleural mesothelioma tumors start on the membrane around the lungs and are hard to treat. Once this cancer takes hold, most … Continue reading HITOC for Mesothelioma: Benefits May Outweigh the Risk »

Cancer-Fighting Gel Could “Change the Treatment Paradigm” for Mesothelioma

cancer-fighting gel

New National Cancer Institute research shows a cancer-fighting gel applied directly to the surface of a mesothelioma tumor could “change the treatment paradigm” for this troublesome cancer.  NCI researchers in Maryland developed the treatment and tested it in animals with mesothelioma tumors.  Their tests show mesothelioma tumors respond after just one application of the medication.  The authors of a new report on the treatment say surgeons could use it to enhance mesothelioma surgery. They could even use the cancer-fighting gel on its own as a stand-alone therapy.  The Challenge of Mesothelioma Tumor Shape Malignant mesothelioma is a surface malignancy. Surface malignancies are tumors that grow on the surface of other organs or tissues. In the case of mesothelioma, tumors occur … Continue reading Cancer-Fighting Gel Could “Change the Treatment Paradigm” for Mesothelioma »

Second-Line Treatment with Ramucirumab Improves Mesothelioma Survival

second-line treatment with ramucirumab

New evidence suggests that second-line treatment with ramucirumab after first-line chemotherapy may lead to longer survival in people with pleural mesothelioma.  Researchers in Italy recently published results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the drug. Ramucirumab inhibits a protein mesothelioma tumors need to form new blood vessels.  The study included 161 pleural mesothelioma patients from across Italy. Researchers gave half of them second-line treatment with ramucirumab and another drug called gemcitabine. The other half had second-line treatment with gemcitabine alone.  Results showed the ramucirumab group lived more than six months longer than those who got only gemcitabine.  Few Options for Recurrent Mesothelioma Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with few good treatment options. Most patients start with chemotherapy with Alimta. … Continue reading Second-Line Treatment with Ramucirumab Improves Mesothelioma Survival »

Yervoy and Opdivo for Mesothelioma: Three Year Results Still Look Good

Yervoy and Opdivo for mesothelioma

Three years after the last patients enrolled in the clinical trial of Yervoy and Opdivo for mesothelioma, survival results still look promising for this immunotherapy treatment.  Researchers presented an update of the CheckMate 743 trial at the recent virtual conference of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). The team found that more than 23% of patients on Yervoy and Opdivo for mesothelioma were still alive at three years. Only 15% of the chemotherapy group were still living.  Immunotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma Alimta (pemetrexed) was the first drug to receive FDA approval for mesothelioma chemotherapy. The FDA approved it in 2004.  Before Alimta, patients had even fewer options that they do today. Most mesothelioma patients now start treatment with a … Continue reading Yervoy and Opdivo for Mesothelioma: Three Year Results Still Look Good »

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