PD-L1 Inhibitor Nivolumab Works Well in New Mesothelioma Study

PD-L1 inhibitor nivolumab

A study of the PD-L1 inhibitor nivolumab showed “safety and efficacy” in mesothelioma patients who failed with other treatments.  Nivolumab is a type of immunotherapy marketed under the brand name Opdivo. It is similar to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in that it blocks the tumor-promoting protein PD-L1. Nivolumab is most often used for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.  A multicenter phase II Japanese study found the PD-L1 inhibitor nivolumab helped a group of pleural mesothelioma patients live longer. Just as importantly, the side effects of the drug were “manageable”.  Human Trial of PD-L1 Inhibitor Nivolumab Chemotherapy with pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin is the standard first-line treatment for pleural mesothelioma. But many patients either do not respond to chemotherapy or they stop … Continue reading PD-L1 Inhibitor Nivolumab Works Well in New Mesothelioma Study »

Possible New Drug for Mesothelioma Gets First FDA Approval

new drug for mesothelioma

A possible new drug for mesothelioma has received FDA approval for the treatment of advanced epithelioid sarcoma.  Tazemetostat (Tazverik) is an oral medication made by a company called Epizyme. It is a brand new kind of drug that blocks a protein called EZH2. Tazemetostat is in testing for several different types of cancer, including malignant mesothelioma.  The recent FDA approval is an encouraging sign that it could one day be a new drug for mesothelioma.  In Search of a New Drug for Mesothelioma  Malignant mesothelioma is one of the most serious consequences of exposure to asbestos. Once asbestos fibers get into the lungs and other tissues, they never leave. Their presence sets up a cascade of cellular reactions that can … Continue reading Possible New Drug for Mesothelioma Gets First FDA Approval »

Second Line Mesothelioma Treatment Shot Down in New Study

second line mesothelioma treatment

Italian researchers say there is good news and bad news about a proposed second line mesothelioma treatment.  The good news is that the treatment did not cause major side effects in the patients who tried it. The bad news is that it also did not help them live any longer.  The treatment is a mixture of gemcitabine and imatinib. Animal studies suggested that the combination might improve mesothelioma survival.  The newly-published study shows the second line mesothelioma treatment did help control the disease in most patients. But the 23 patients who tried it only lived for a median of 5.7 months. That was not enough for doctors to recommend the combination. Mesothelioma Chemotherapy and Survival The most common first line … Continue reading Second Line Mesothelioma Treatment Shot Down in New Study »

Injectable Pemetrexed for Mesothelioma Now Available for the First Time

injectable pemetrexed for mesothelioma

The FDA has cleared injectable pemetrexed for mesothelioma after two drug companies settled a patent dispute over the medication in December. Until now, the chemotherapy drug pemetrexed has only been available for infusion. In this form, it is called Alimta and is distributed by Eli Lilly.  But New Jersey-based Eagle Pharmaceuticals wanted to develop a form of injectable pemetrexed for mesothelioma. They received tentative approval for the drug in 2018, but it was not until the patent issue was settled that the final approval was granted.  The drug may shorten the duration of treatment for some patients with malignant mesothelioma.  Pemetrexed the Primary Mesothelioma Treatment Malignant mesothelioma is an intractable cancer that grows on the membranes around internal organs. Patients … Continue reading Injectable Pemetrexed for Mesothelioma Now Available for the First Time »

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Treatment Focuses on Two-Drug Combo

sarcomatoid mesothelioma treatment

Researchers in Spain are developing what they hope will be a more effective sarcomatoid mesothelioma treatment. The new treatment focuses on a pair of drugs that are already being tested in humans.  Mesothelioma impacts about 2,500 Americans each year. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is a rare form of this rare cancer. About a quarter of the annual cases are sarcomatoid.  This form of cancer is even more aggressive than epithelioid mesothelioma. But sarcomatoid mesothelioma treatment is not significantly different. Neither are the results.  But the new study could change the prognosis for people with asbestos cancer. It appears in the journal Cancer Research. Chemotherapy is the Primary Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Treatment Most people with malignant mesothelioma receive chemotherapy with cisplatin and Alimta. This … Continue reading Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Treatment Focuses on Two-Drug Combo »

Anti-Inflammatory Treatment for Mesothelioma Shows Long-Term Benefit

anti-inflammatory treatment for mesothelioma

Doctors in London are reporting a case of long-term mesothelioma survival with anti-inflammatory treatment for mesothelioma. The 64-year-old pleural mesothelioma patient had been a heating engineer. When he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, he elected not to have standard cancer treatments.  His doctors advised him to start on a regimen of aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs. On just the anti-inflammatory treatment for mesothelioma, the man was still alive four years after his diagnosis.  Mesothelioma and Inflammation Pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer of the membrane around the lungs. It is most common in people who have worked or lived around asbestos.  When asbestos fibers get into the lungs, they stay there permanently. Studies suggest that the inflammation caused by these … Continue reading Anti-Inflammatory Treatment for Mesothelioma Shows Long-Term Benefit »

Second-Line Treatment for Mesothelioma with Lurbinectedin

second-line treatment for mesothelioma

Swiss researchers may have finally found an effective second-line treatment for mesothelioma.  Scientists with the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research presented their findings at the recent European Society for Medical Oncology conference in Barcelona.  Mesothelioma patients who fail after first-line therapy have few options. The new study focused on lurbinectedin, a drug that impacts cancer cells at the DNA level. Early studies suggest lurbinectedin might make a good second-line treatment for small cell lung cancer.  According to the Swiss team, more than half of patients in their study responded to lurbinectedin as a second-line treatment for mesothelioma.  In Search of a Second-Line Mesothelioma Treatment Malignant mesothelioma is notoriously difficult to diagnose and even harder to treat. It is usually … Continue reading Second-Line Treatment for Mesothelioma with Lurbinectedin »

New Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Trial Now Underway at Baylor

mesothelioma immunotherapy trial

Cancer researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have launched a new mesothelioma immunotherapy trial. The trial combines the cancer drug Opdivo (nivolumab) with injections of a modified virus called MTG201. Baylor scientists are hoping to recruit 12 pleural mesothelioma patients whose cancer has come back after chemotherapy.  The treatment combination appeared to work well in mice with mesothelioma. If it works as well in people, this new mesothelioma immunotherapy trial could change the outlook for many people with malignant mesothelioma.  How the New Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Trial Will Work Opdivo is the brand name for nivolumab. It blocks a protein called PD-1 in cancer cells. PD-1 is one of the ways that mesothelioma cells evade the immune system. Opdivo is often … Continue reading New Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Trial Now Underway at Baylor »

Cediranib for Mesothelioma: VEGF Inhibitor Fails Another Trial

cediranib for mesothelioma

Cediranib for mesothelioma appears to be ruled out by another failed clinical trial.  A new study led by MD Anderson researchers concludes that the VEGF inhibitor causes too many side effects for not enough survival benefit.  It is a blow to researchers hoping to use cediranib for mesothelioma patients on chemotherapy.  Cutting Off Tumor Blood Supply Cediranib is an oral drug made by AstraZeneca. It is part of a class of drugs called VEGF inhibitors. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a signal protein that stimulates blood vessel formation in tumors. Research shows that mesothelioma patients who have higher serum levels of VEGF have a lower chance of survival.  VEGF inhibitors like cediranib latch onto VEGF receptors inside mesothelioma cells. … Continue reading Cediranib for Mesothelioma: VEGF Inhibitor Fails Another Trial »

Experimental Mesothelioma Treatment Targets Tumor Growth Compounds

Experimental mesothelioma treatment

Hong Kong researchers have released the first results of an experimental mesothelioma treatment they are working on. The treatment targets organic compounds believed to contribute to mesothelioma growth. The trial took place at the University of Hong Kong. Mice with mesothelioma received doses of an enzyme inhibitor called DFMO. The drug appears to stop the production of organic compounds called polyamines. In tests, mice with lower polyamine levels lived longer with pleural mesothelioma. Enzymes Contribute to Tumor Growth The growth and spread of pleural mesothelioma is a complex process. It involves many different proteins and enzymes working together. Scientists have not yet identified all of the compounds that contribute to cancer growth. But the experimental mesothelioma treatment in Hong Kong … Continue reading Experimental Mesothelioma Treatment Targets Tumor Growth Compounds »

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