A recent study has found that a new drug for mesothelioma chemotherapy could improve treatment outcomes.
The new drug is called abemaciclib. It works by blocking cancer cells from multiplying within the body. This helps to stop tumors from growing and spreading.
The researchers in this study used cell samples from mesothelioma patients to test the drug.
Their study found that adding abemaciclib to the standard chemotherapy treatment helped to stop the growth of mesothelioma cancer cells.
Common Treatment Options
Mesothelioma is an extremely rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It affects the membranes around organs like the lungs and abdominal cavity. It takes a long time for symptoms to appear. By then, the cancer has usually become difficult to treat. Even with the best treatments, most people with a mesothelioma diagnosis face a poor prognosis.
There are three common treatment options for mesothelioma. If the patient is still healthy, they could be a good candidate for surgery to remove the cancer.
If the patient is too sick for surgery, doctors will use chemotherapy or radiation. In many cases, patients will receive a combination of these treatments. This is called multimodal therapy.
In 2004, the FDA approved the first-ever drug therapy for pleural mesothelioma. Alimta (pemetrexed) is still the gold standard systemic treatment for both adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Doctors usually combine it with a platinum drug called cisplatin.
This study looked at how well this combination worked with the addition of abemaciclib. This drug has already been used successfully to treat breast cancer.
Adding Abemaciclib with Chemotherapy
The findings of this study show that using abemaciclib at the same time as cisplatin and pemetrexed slowed the growth of cancer cells. Even using abemaciclib at very low doses had a positive treatment effect. This is important for limiting negative side effects from chemotherapy.
This discovery could help to improve treatment outcomes in patients who are too sick to have surgery.
Terenziani R, Galetti M, La Monica S, et al. CDK4/6 Inhibition Enhances the Efficacy of Standard Chemotherapy Treatment in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Cells. Cancers (Basel). 2022;14(23):5925. Published 2022 Nov 30. doi:10.3390/cancers14235925. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9739278/