Perifosine May Offer New Mesothelioma Treatment


The makers of the anti-cancer drug perifosine say new research suggests the drug may offer a new way to fight malignant mesothelioma.

The research article entitled “Perifosine as a Potential Novel Anti-Cancer Agent Inhibits EGFR/MET-AKT Axis in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” was recently published in the peer-reviewed online medical journal Plos One. The announcement has been picked up by other news outlets because of the rarity of new treatments for mesothelioma, the asbestos-linked cancer that is diagnosed in about 2,500 Americans every year.

In the new study, perifosine was tested on human mesothelial cells and a variety of mesothelioma cell lines to demonstrate its effectiveness alone or in combination with other mesothelioma treatments. When given at a high enough dose, perifosine interfered with the membranes of mesothelioma cells and halted their growth. The effect was even more pronounced when mesothelioma cells were treated with a combination of perifosine and the chemotherapy drug cisplatin.

Perifosine is an oral anti-cancer drug that inhibits the cell’s ability to utilize Akt, a protein kinase that plays a key role in multiple cellular processes including glucose metabolism, apoptosis (cell death) and cell proliferation.  Perifosine is currently in a Phase 3 clinical trial for the blood cancer multiple myeloma and has been given Orphan Drug and Fast Track status for this indication.

In a summary of their findings, the Italian-based research team concluded, “This study provides a novel mechanism of action of perifosine, directly inhibit EGFR/MET-AKT1/3 axis, providing a rationale for a novel translational approach to the treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma.”


Pinton, G et al, “Perifosine as a Potential Novel Anti-Cancer Agent Inhibits EGFR/MET-AKT Axis in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” PLoS ONE, May 2012.
“Aeterna Zentaris: Article on Perifosine as Potential Novel Approach to Treatment of Mesothelioma Published in Plos One”, May 31, 2012, PR Newswire,

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