Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields: New Hope for Mesothelioma?

Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields

There is hope that a new lung cancer trial combining Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields could lead to a new treatment for pleural mesothelioma.  Recent studies show Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is one of the most promising immunotherapy drugs against malignant mesothelioma. Electrical device Tumor Treating Fields is only the second treatment to receive FDA approval for mesothelioma.  This summer, the manufacturers of these two treatments announced they would team up. They will test Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The results could impact the future of mesothelioma treatment, too. Two Promising Therapies: Keytruda Keytruda is an immunotherapy drug. It blocks a protein called PD-1. Many types of cancer cells overproduce PD-1 to evade the immune … Continue reading Keytruda and Tumor Treating Fields: New Hope for Mesothelioma? »

First-Line Immunotherapy May Be Better Than Chemo for This Mesothelioma Subtype

First-Line Immunotherapy

A new study suggests that people with sarcomatoid mesothelioma may fare better if they have first-line immunotherapy before considering chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy is the standard first-line treatment for most people with mesothelioma. But a report in the journal Translational Lung Cancer questions the wisdom of that trend. The study focused on the outcomes of patients with the sarcomatoid mesothelioma subtype. These patients lived longer after immunotherapy than patients with other subtypes.  When first-line immunotherapy worked best, patients produced more white blood cells. Researchers say these patients might do well to avoid having chemotherapy first. Chemotherapy as Standard Mesothelioma Treatment First-line immunotherapy is not the typical mesothelioma treatment. Most mesothelioma patients have chemotherapy with Alimta (pemetrexed) before other treatments.  Alimta is the … Continue reading First-Line Immunotherapy May Be Better Than Chemo for This Mesothelioma Subtype »

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 »

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 »

Proton Therapy for Mesothelioma: New Consensus Statement

proton therapy for mesothelioma

A group of international experts in radiation oncology say proton therapy for mesothelioma may be a safer alternative to standard radiotherapy.  Proton therapy uses protons instead of photons to destroy mesothelioma tumor cells.  The group evaluated both types of radiation therapy. They conclude that proton therapy for mesothelioma is less likely to damage the opposite lung and other organs.  What is Proton Therapy? Conventional radiation therapy for mesothelioma uses photons. A radiation oncologist delivers photons into the tumor with a linear accelerator. The photons or X-rays permanently damage the DNA. Damaged mesothelioma cells cannot grow and divide normally and the cells die.  The downside of standard radiation therapy is that normal tissue absorbs some of the damaging photons, too. This … Continue reading Proton Therapy for Mesothelioma: New Consensus Statement »

Opdivo for Mesothelioma Recurrence is Safe and Effective, Study Finds

Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence

A new Japanese study appears to show that Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence after surgery is safe and effective.  Opdivo (nivolumab) is an immunotherapy drug similar to Keytruda (pembrolizumab). It blocks a protein called PD-L1. PD-L1 helps mesothelioma cells avoid detection by the immune system.  In the latest study, 35 patients received Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence. More than three quarters of them experienced either stable or decreased disease. Understanding How Nivolumab Works Nivolumab is most often used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. It makes tumors more vulnerable to immune system attack. Pleural mesothelioma has many of the same characteristics as lung cancer. This is one reason researchers are hopeful about Opdivo for mesothelioma recurrence.  The primary treatment for mesothelioma is … Continue reading Opdivo for Mesothelioma Recurrence is Safe and Effective, Study Finds »

Best Practices for Pleural Mesothelioma: Updated Recommendations from Europe’s Top Doctors

best practices for pleural mesothelioma

Europe’s top mesothelioma experts have released new best practices for pleural mesothelioma. They include the latest recommendations on diagnosis, staging, monitoring, and treatment. The task force was made up of members from:  European Respiratory Society (ERS) European Society of Thoracic Surgeons (ESTS) European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery (EACTS) European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) This is the first time the best practices for pleural mesothelioma were updated since 2009. The group based the new recommendations on mesothelioma data gathered in the last decade.  Mesothelioma Remains a Global Challenge Malignant mesothelioma is one of the world’s most challenging cancers. Doctors know that asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. But many other things about this disease are a mystery.  Some people with a … Continue reading Best Practices for Pleural Mesothelioma: Updated Recommendations from Europe’s Top Doctors »

Photodynamic Therapy and Immunotherapy: A Powerful Mesothelioma Combo?

photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy

Swiss doctors have used a combination of photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy to dramatically shrink mesothelioma tumors in mice.  More than a third of mice treated with an immune checkpoint inhibitor and low-dose light therapy experienced complete regression of their cancer.  The new study explores how photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy can work together. The answers could have important implications for tens of thousands of people suffering from asbestos cancer.  Two Different Approaches to Mesothelioma Mesothelioma is a rare but deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Pleural mesothelioma occurs on the membrane around the lungs. It is the most common type of mesothelioma. Around 2,500 Americans receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. There is no cure. Photodynamic therapy and immunotherapy both show … Continue reading Photodynamic Therapy and Immunotherapy: A Powerful Mesothelioma Combo? »

Radiotherapy Before Mesothelioma Surgery May Not Be Worth the Risk

Radiotherapy before mesothelioma surgery

Cancer doctors at Mayo Clinic say they do not plan to start routinely performing radiotherapy before mesothelioma surgery. The idea is based on a radiation protocol called SMART. The team monitored how well the SMART protocol worked among their pleural mesothelioma patients over a one year period.  The Mayo doctors acknowledged that radiotherapy before mesothelioma surgery can sometimes improve outcomes. But too many of their patients developed serious complications. In a recently-published article, the team concludes that SMART may not be worth the risk for most patients.  The SMART Way to Treat Mesothelioma? Pleural mesothelioma grows on the membrane that surrounds the lungs. Mesothelioma tumors lie close to the lungs and heart and may spread to one or both lungs. … Continue reading Radiotherapy Before Mesothelioma Surgery May Not Be Worth the Risk »

Researchers Argue Against Surgery for Mesothelioma

surgery for mesothelioma

A pair of California surgeons say surgery for mesothelioma is rarely worthwhile. They point to what they say are flawed studies on surgical treatment. One trial they believe was well-conducted seems to show reduced mesothelioma survival after surgery. Writing in the journal Translational Lung Cancer Research, the doctors argue that most patients should choose non-surgical treatment for mesothelioma.  Some Background on Surgery for Mesothelioma Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining around the lungs. It is an aggressive cancer with no known cure. There are two primary approaches to surgery for mesothelioma. Both types are controversial and the subject of much debate among surgeons.  Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) is a surgical approach that involves removing the pleural membrane, one lung, … Continue reading Researchers Argue Against Surgery for Mesothelioma »

Get your free copy of
“Surviving Mesothelioma” Today!