Mesothelioma is a rare and tough kind of cancer, often linked to exposure to something called asbestos. Scientists are exploring new ways to treat it, and one promising method is using a combination of two drugs: nivolumab and ipilimumab. A new study looks at what these drugs do and shares some real-world information. The results show how researchers are helping people with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma is a kind of cancer that shows up in the lining around organs like the lungs, abdomen, and heart. It’s connected to exposure to asbestos, which is a harmful substance that used to be widely used in construction and other industries.
The Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Combo
Scientists have been testing a combo of two drugs – nivolumab and ipilimumab – as a new way to treat mesothelioma. These drugs work by helping the body’s immune system fight against cancer cells.
Researchers studied 184 patients with mesothelioma. All the patients were treated with nivolumab and ipilimumab between January 2021 and August 2022. They checked how well the treatment worked and if there were any problems.
Around 30% of the patients experienced some serious side effects. These are called treatment-related adverse events or TRAEs, like feeling really sick. Unfortunately, these side effects led 23% of the patients to stop the treatment early.
How Well Did It Work?
The treatment combo showed good results in the real world. About 22% of patients had their tumors respond to the treatment. That’s called the overall response rate or ORR. The average time the treatment worked was about 5.7 months. After 12 weeks, more than half of the patients had their disease under control.
The treatment also helped in terms of survival. On average, patients went about 5.5 months without their disease getting worse. This is also called progression-free survival. And their overall survival was around 14.1 months.
Using nivolumab and ipilimumab together seems to be a helpful treatment for mesothelioma. It makes the cancer respond, keeps it under control, and helps people live longer. But, it’s important to know that it can cause some strong side effects, leading some to stop the treatment. Researchers are learning more about how to manage these side effects better. As we understand more, we can improve the treatment to make it safer and even more effective for people fighting mesothelioma.
Dumoulin, D. W., L. H. Douma, M. M. Hofman, V. van der Noort, R. Cornelissen, C. J. de Gooijer, J. A. Burgers, and J. G. J. V. Aerts. “Nivolumab and Ipilimumab in the Real-World Setting in Patients with Mesothelioma.” LUNG CANCER 187 (January 2024): 107440. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2023.107440.