Tag Archives: Alimta

Lower-Cost Mesothelioma Drug May Be as Effective as Gold Standard

A new study suggests that the lower cost chemotherapy drug Gemzar (gemcitabine) combined with a platinum based agent (cisplatin or carboplatin) may be just as effective at treating advanced pleural mesothelioma as the gold standard mesothelioma drug Alimta (pemetrexed) . Doctors in Turkey, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of mesothelioma, tracked 116 mesothelioma patients who were treated with a combination of Alimta and a platinum drug between 1999 and 2012. During the same period, 30 mesothelioma patients received the alternative combination of Gemzar and a platinum drug. There were no differences between the two groups in terms of age, gender, asbestos exposure, histological subtype, cancer stage or other characteristics.  The mean age of the patients was … Continue reading Lower-Cost Mesothelioma Drug May Be as Effective as Gold Standard »

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Side-Effect Mimics Scleroderma, Infection


The antifolate pemetrexed (Alimta) is the first and is only drug approved by the FDA specifically to treat malignant mesothelioma, the aggressive cancer most closely associated with asbestos exposure.  A combination of pemetrexed and a platinum-based drug like cisplatin or carboplatin is the first-line treatment for most mesothelioma patients. But, like every drug, pemetrexed carries the potential for side effects. Researchers at Perigueux Hospital in Perigueux, France have just published a paper warning of a serious but little-known skin-related side effect of pemetrexed that may be unrecognized by mesothelioma patients and doctors. The report, published in a French dermatology journal, details the cases of two cancer patients on pemetrexed who developed a serious skin problem with symptoms resembling the connective … Continue reading Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Side-Effect Mimics Scleroderma, Infection »

Alimta May Extend Mesothelioma Survival as a Maintenance Therapy

T Scientists in Japan have just published details of a case they say could be pivotal to the treatment of intractable malignant pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is usually caused by exposure to asbestos and starts in the membrane around the lungs. Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, a chemotherapy combination of the platinum drug cisplatin and the anti-folate pemetrexed is considered to be the gold standard drug therapy. Unfortunately, many patients cannot tolerate high doses of cisplatin because of the danger of liver damage. But respiratory medicine specialists at Uji Tokushukai Medical Center in Japan say this problem may be tackled for some mesothelioma patients by continuing to give them pemetrexed. Dr. Takayuki Takeda and his team report the … Continue reading Alimta May Extend Mesothelioma Survival as a Maintenance Therapy »

Kidney Risk May be Unavoidable with Top Mesothelioma Drug

Italian scientists studying the popular mesothelioma chemotherapy drug pemetrexed (Alimta) have some sobering news for patients: Kidney damage remains a risk, even in patients whose kidney function tests are on the low end of normal. Doctors in the nephrology and dialysis unit at St. Andrea Hospital in La Spezia, Italy, performed a retrospective evaluation of 38 patients with non-small cell lung cancer who developed kidney injuries after being treated with pemetrexed. Twenty nine of the study participants had no other risks for renal damage. The guidelines for administering pemetrexed to patients with mesothelioma, NSCLC, and other types of cancer say that the patient’s eGFR, a measure of kidney function, should be higher than 45. Although all of the patients in … Continue reading Kidney Risk May be Unavoidable with Top Mesothelioma Drug »

Fluid Drainage With Chemotherapy May Be Unneeded

Mesothelioma patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment with pemetrexed (Alimta) may be able to avoid one of the more uncomfortable parts of the procedure thanks to information gained from a new Danish study. Pharmacologists at the University of Copenhagen say the practice of draining so-called third-space fluid in patients undergoing pemetrexed-based chemotherapy may not be necessary. Third-space fluid is fluid that collects in body spaces not usually filled with fluid. In the case of patients with pleural mesothelioma or lung cancer, this fluid may collect in the space between the layers of the lung lining (pleura). Managing the toxicity of powerful chemotherapy drugs like pemetrexed is a delicate process. Pleural draining or evacuation is often recommended prior to a new dose of … Continue reading Fluid Drainage With Chemotherapy May Be Unneeded »

Mesothelioma Drug Side Effect Relieved by Surgery

A team of plastic surgeons in New York have had good luck dealing with one of the bothersome side effects of the mesothelioma drug, Alimta. Alimta (pemetrexed) is considered the gold standard chemotherapy drug for malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is often combined with the platinum-based drug cisplatin as a primary mesothelioma treatment or to help shrink mesothelioma tumors before or after surgery. It is also used to treat non-small cell lung cancer. But, like other powerful chemotherapy drugs, Alimta causes certain side effects, one of which can be swelling of the eyelids. While not life-threatening, eyelid swelling or “edema” can impact quality of life for mesothelioma patients and others on Alimta. But a new article in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive … Continue reading Mesothelioma Drug Side Effect Relieved by Surgery »

Standard Chemotherapy Mix Still Best for Mesothelioma

Researchers at Japan’s Shizuoka Cancer Center and Juntendo University say the popular chemotherapy combination of cisplatin and Alimta (pemetrexed) should remain the gold standard for malignant pleural mesothelioma. In a study published in Respiratory Investigations, the team, led by Takehito Shukuya, concluded that Alimta and the platinum-based drug cisplatin produced better long term results in mesothelioma patients than the combination of cisplatin and Gemzar (gemcitabine). Gemzar is a nucleoside analog that some studies have found to be a promising alternative to the more conventional Alimta-based mesothelioma treatment. In a retrospective comparison study of the two treatment combinations, researchers examined the cases of 30 consecutive malignant pleural mesothelioma patients from July 2002 to December 2011. “We reviewed the medical charts of … Continue reading Standard Chemotherapy Mix Still Best for Mesothelioma »

Genes Predict Mesothelioma Treatment Response

University of Chicago researchers have released the results of genetic studies they hope will shed some light on why some mesothelioma patients respond well to pemetrexed (Alimta) while others do not. In 2004, pemetrexed was the first medicine approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma.  It has since also been approved for the treatment for small cell lung cancer.  While it has been hailed as a breakthrough mesothelioma drug, and has become the gold standard for chemotherapeutic treatment of the disease, pemetrexed also has many serious side effects including low white blood cell counts, low blood platelets, anemia, fatigue and nausea. In addition, pemetrexed does not work for all mesothelioma patients.  The ability to predict which patients are … Continue reading Genes Predict Mesothelioma Treatment Response »

Alimta Reportedly Caused Lung Injury

A Japanese medical journal recently reported a case of pemetrexed-induced acute lung injury in a patient with mesothelioma. In the U.S., Alimta is the brand name for pemetrexed. According to this report a 65-year-old man was admitted to the hospital after complaining of shortness of breath. Doctors ordered a chest x-ray which showed that the patient had excess fluid that had accumulated in the left pleural cavity, the fluid-filled space that surrounds the lungs. A chest CT scan was ordered which revealed multiple pleural masses on the left side. A needle biopsy removed a specimen from one of the masses and pathology tests were performed on the sample. The diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma was subsequently made. The patient was … Continue reading Alimta Reportedly Caused Lung Injury »