Opdivo for Malignant Mesothelioma: Could a Lower Dose Work?

There is new evidence that low doses of the drug Opdivo (nivolumab) may extend lung cancer survival as well as the standard dose—at a much lower cost. The news may have implications for people with the lung-related asbestos cancer, malignant mesothelioma, who are also sometimes treated with Opdivo. Pleural mesothelioma is a hard-to-treat cancer that grows on the lining around the lungs and causes many of the same symptoms as lung cancer. Some evidence has suggested that Opdivo, an immunotherapy drug already approved for the treatment of recurrent lung cancer, may soon become the first drug approved for recurrent mesothelioma, too. Now, a newly-published Korean study finds that patients may not need as much of the drug as originally thought … Continue reading Opdivo for Malignant Mesothelioma: Could a Lower Dose Work? »

Nurse Compassion May Improve Mesothelioma Outcomes


Recent research suggests that how people with lung cancers like pleural mesothelioma are treated by their oncology nurses can have a direct bearing on their treatment outcomes. The news is based on a groundbreaking study conducted at two Chinese universities and published in Psychology Research and Behavior Management. Empathy and Lung Cancer Survival The study focused on 365 lung cancer patients who were cared for by 30 different nurses at a Beijing hospital between October 2016 and May 2017. Researchers used a test called flow cytometry to measure the activity of cancer fighting immune system cells including T-cells, B-cells and natural killer (NK) cells. These cells are also activated in patients battling malignant mesothelioma and other cancers. This “cellular immunity” … Continue reading Nurse Compassion May Improve Mesothelioma Outcomes »

Penn Surgeons “Light Up” Tumors to Boost Mesothelioma Survival

University of Pennsylvania surgeons are experimenting with a new technology that could vastly improve survival for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma by ensuring that more of their cancer can be  removed. Complete resection of mesothelioma tumors can be the difference between life and death; even a few cancer cells left behind can quickly grow into new tumors. But macroscopic complete resection, as it is called, is not easy. Not only are mesothelioma tumors irregularly-shaped and located close to critical organs like the lungs and heart, but surgeons say it is often hard to distinguish tiny metastatic tumors from inflammation or scar tissue. In addition, traditional scanning techniques like PET can’t usually show nodules smaller than a centimeter and can’t distinguish … Continue reading Penn Surgeons “Light Up” Tumors to Boost Mesothelioma Survival »

Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Multi-Drug HIPEC Combo Leads to Better Outcomes

A new French study suggests that peritoneal mesothelioma patients who undergo CRS/HIPEC treatment  have better outcomes when two chemotherapeutic agents are used instead of just one. The introduction of cytoreductive surgery (CRS) in combination with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) has dramatically improved the prognosis for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare form of the asbestos cancer that occurs in the abdomen. But a team of researchers from cancer hospitals across France wanted to know if outcomes are better with some HIPEC drugs than they are with others. Their results seem to show a clear mesothelioma survival advantage to platinum-based regimens (those including cisplatin) that include at least one other agent. Treating a Rare Type of Mesothelioma During CRS, surgeons remove … Continue reading Peritoneal Mesothelioma: Multi-Drug HIPEC Combo Leads to Better Outcomes »

New Staging Method May Improve Accuracy of Mesothelioma Prognosis

Pleural mesothelioma patients may be less likely to get a true picture of their prognosis when their cancer is “staged” using the standard TNM method. Harvard researchers came to that conclusion after comparing the actual clinical status of 472 malignant pleural mesothelioma patients (their cTNM stage) with their TNM stage as determined by pathological analysis (pTNM). They found a significant discrepancy between clinical and pathological mesothelioma stage – and, as a result, in mesothelioma prognosis – in 6 out of 10 patients.   TNM Staging for Malignant Mesothelioma The TNM staging criteria is a method for determining how extensive a patient’s cancer is by evaluating three parameters: tumor size (T), involvement of the lymph nodes (N), and the extent of … Continue reading New Staging Method May Improve Accuracy of Mesothelioma Prognosis »

Does Alcohol Increase Mesothelioma Risk?

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? »

Study Finds Chemotherapy Unlikely to Improve Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival

A new study from the University of Illinois suggests that patients with peritoneal mesothelioma who undergo  surgery may not get any benefit from having chemotherapy, too. Mesothelioma patients who have cytoreductive surgery, which is also called debulking surgery, tend to live more than four times as long as those who do not have the surgery. Rinsing the abdominal cavity with a heated solution of cancer-killing drugs may improve survival even more. But, according to the new study, the same cannot be said of chemotherapy drugs that are delivered orally or by injection or infusion so that they circulate through the whole body (systemic chemotherapy). Peritoneal Mesothelioma and Cytoreductive Surgery Peritoneal mesothelioma is a fast-growing malignancy that occurs on the membrane … Continue reading Study Finds Chemotherapy Unlikely to Improve Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survival »

PD-L1 Linked to Shorter Mesothelioma Survival

Mesothelioma consultation regarding treatment

Mesothelioma patients who express too much of the protein PD-L1 are less likely to survive the asbestos cancer than those whose cells express less. That is the message from a new Australian study on mesothelioma prognosis, which backs up the findings from a number of previous PD-L1 studies. In a report published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology, oncologist Bella Hai Nguyen and colleagues at The Canberra Hospital in Garran analyzed the clinical data on 58 malignant pleural mesothelioma patients treated there between 2006 and 2016. As with previous studies on PD-L1, the Australian study found a link between overexpression of the protein and poor mesothelioma survival. Unlike other studies, though, the new study finds that an even higher … Continue reading PD-L1 Linked to Shorter Mesothelioma Survival »

Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma: Who Are the Best Candidates?

Immunotherapy is emerging as one of the most promising new treatment approaches for a wide range of cancers, including malignant pleural mesothelioma, the treatment-resistant lung-related cancer caused by asbestos exposure. Every year, more than 2,500 Americans are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Most will die of the illness within 18 months, even with the most advanced chemotherapeutic, radiotherapeutic, and surgical treatments. But immunotherapy, which recruits the body’s own immune system to help fight the cancer, may be a more effective option for some mesothelioma patients. Now, a new study conducted by researchers in Italy, with support from California-based Genentech, suggests that there may be a way to identify which mesothelioma patients are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy. Molecular and Histopathological … Continue reading Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma: Who Are the Best Candidates? »

New Assessment Identifies People at High Risk for Malignant Mesothelioma

Black American Patient

Scottish researchers say they have come up with a better way to decide which asbestos-exposed people might benefit from mesothelioma screening or even mesothelioma prevention measures. They have developed an assessment tool to gather detailed information from workers about the time, duration, and nature of their asbestos exposure in order to better quantify their mesothelioma risk. “The assessment is based on the tasks carried out and includes parameters for substance emission potential, activity emission potential, the effectiveness of any local control measures, passive emission, the fractional time the asbestos source is active, and the efficiency of any respiratory protection worn,” writes lead author John W, Cherrie with the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh. Measuring Asbestos Exposure Asbestos is the … Continue reading New Assessment Identifies People at High Risk for Malignant Mesothelioma »

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