Survival and Side Effects: Insights from RIOMeso on Mesothelioma Treatment

Survival and Side Effects: Insights from RIOMeso on Mesothelioma Treatment

Mesothelioma is a hard diagnosis, especially in Australia where asbestos-related diseases are a big concern. With only a 10% survival rate over five years, finding effective treatments is super important.

Recently, a standard treatment in unresectable pleural mesothelioma has surfaced following successful trials. A study called RIOMeso has assessed how this treatment impacts survival and side effects in real-world scenarios.

Navigating Mesothelioma Treatment Realities

Lately, a common treatment for hard-to-remove pleural mesothelioma has surfaced. It involves using ipilimumab and nivolumab together. This treatment became a standard after successful trials. The RIOMeso study looked at how well this treatment works and what side effects it brings in real life.

The study checked out 119 patients from 11 places in Australia. Most were guys around 72 years old, and many had been around asbestos. About 75% got this treatment first, and everyone survived about 14.5 months on average, whether they got it first or later.

The type of mesothelioma didn’t seem to change how long people lived with this treatment. But here’s the thing: about a fourth of the patients had some pretty bad side effects. Three people even passed away because of the treatment, and lots of folks got colitis, which is when your colon gets swollen.

The study showed that this combo treatment led to lower survival rates and more bad effects than what was seen in earlier trials. It’s the first time anyone’s really looked at how this combo works outside of controlled tests.

Investigating Immunotherapy Impact in Real-Life Mesothelioma Care

People with pleural mesothelioma haven’t had many breakthroughs in treatment. They tried adding bevacizumab to chemotherapy, which seemed okay. But lately, there’s been more hope in using immunotherapy, especially in later stages.

One big trial, CheckMate 743, said that using ipilimumab and nivolumab first helped folks live longer. But even though this sounded good, only about 23% were still alive after three years. And some folks had more problems, especially older ones and those with certain types of mesothelioma.

Other studies mixing pembrolizumab with chemotherapy also helped people live longer. This shows that immunotherapy might be a real help for treating mesothelioma.

Starting from July 2021, Aussies got access to this ipilimumab and nivolumab treatment. That’s when the RIOMeso study kicked in to see how well this new treatment really does in everyday life in Australia.

What this study found tells us that while treatments from tests seem hopeful, they bring their own troubles when used in real life. It’s a reminder that there’s more to learn and adjust when using these treatments outside of research. Understanding these differences is key in making treatments better and in managing what patients and their helpers can expect.


McNamee, Nicholas, Catriona Harvey, Lauren Gray, Trisha Khoo, Lavanya Lingam, Betty Zhang, Udit Nindra, et al. “Brief Report: Real-World Toxicity and Survival of Combination Immunotherapy in Pleural Mesothelioma—RIOMeso.” Journal of Thoracic Oncology, November 28, 2023. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2023.11.014.


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