Tag Archives: malignant pleural mesothelioma

Skin Cancer Drug Produces Exceptional Results in New Mesothelioma Trial

Respiratory Disease

A drug approved to treat skin cancer has produced what researchers are calling “unprecedented” control of malignant pleural mesothelioma. As announced at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research which met in Philadelphia in April, pembrolizumab either stopped tumor growth or even reversed it in more than three quarters of the mesothelioma patients tested. Pembrolizumab (brand name Keytruda) is a monoclonal antibody designed to block a cell surface receptor called PD-1. As part of a phase 1B clinical trial known as KEYNOTE-028, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania gave the drug to 25 mesothelioma patients between March and December 2014. These patients all had tumors that tested positive for PD-1 expression. Most had already been through at … Continue reading Skin Cancer Drug Produces Exceptional Results in New Mesothelioma Trial »

Mesothelioma: The Deadly Legacy of Cement Plants

A new study out of Italy demonstrates the deadly legacy of asbestos cement plants around the world. Researchers found a higher incidence of malignant pleural mesothelioma not only not only among former plant workers, but also in people who just lived near the plants, including many women. The study involved more than 15 thousand Italians diagnosed with mesothelioma between 1993 and 2008. Because mesothelioma is directly related to asbestos exposure, the researchers analyzed the lives of these patients including where they lived, the industries in which they worked, and their family histories to see how they may have come in contact with the toxin. When all of these mesothelioma cases were plotted on a map of Italy, it became clear that some … Continue reading Mesothelioma: The Deadly Legacy of Cement Plants »

Fast Neutron Radiotherapy Not an Answer for Mesothelioma

A special kind of targeted radiotherapy that uses high energy neutrons instead of protons or electrons to kill cancer cells is unlikely to significantly improve outcomes for patients with mesothelioma. That word comes from a top radiation oncologist at one of the few cancer centers in the United States where “fast neutron” radiotherapy is available. Because high-energy neutrons can do more serious damage to the DNA of cancer cells than other types of radiotherapy, fast neutron radiotherapy is sometimes considered more effective for certain types of cancer, particularly if the cancer is inoperable as is often the case with mesothelioma. This type of treatment can also produce more serious side effects than standard radiation therapy. It is considered one of the … Continue reading Fast Neutron Radiotherapy Not an Answer for Mesothelioma »

Using a "Job Exposure Matrix" to Predict Mesothelioma

Researchers in one of the world’s top mesothelioma hot spots have come up with an asbestos disease prediction matrix which may help ensure that fewer cases of mesothelioma go undiagnosed. Even though Australia has one of the world’s highest per capita rates of malignant pleural mesothelioma, data on where and when people were likely to have been exposed to asbestos is sketchy. As researchers from the University of Western Australia in Perth note in an article in The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, “In Australia…estimates of disease risk and attribution of disease causation are usually calculated from data that are not specific for local conditions.” One of the problems with not trying to quantify risk in different locations and in different … Continue reading Using a "Job Exposure Matrix" to Predict Mesothelioma »

When “Breast Cancer” is Actually Mesothelioma

A new case study out of Italy highlights the importance of using all of the available tools – including patient history – to distinguish mesothelioma from other types of cancer. Oncologists in the Ob/Gyn department at Umberto I Hospital in Rome have just published the details of a female patient who was originally believed to have breast cancer. The 49-year-old hairdresser was found to have a hard lump, about 3 centimeters in diameter, lying against the lowest layers of her right breast. But when her doctors performed a biopsy and tested the cells, they discovered that the lump was not what they thought it was. “Estrogen receptors and progesterone receptors were negative,” writes Dr. Marialuisa Framarino-Dei-Malatesta, the paper’s lead author. … Continue reading When “Breast Cancer” is Actually Mesothelioma »

Mesothelioma Prognosis: Some Markers More Useful than Others

Deciding which treatments to try and determining whether they are working are two of the biggest challenges for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.  But a team of researchers in the UK is trying to make the process a little easier. They have identified three markers the say can help doctors predict prognosis in mesothelioma patients and monitor their response to treatment. The South West Area Mesothelioma and Pemetrexed trial, based in the Southwestern part of England, recruited 73 pleural mesothelioma patients between 2008 and 2011. Fifty-eight of the patients elected to undergo chemotherapy with pemetrexed (Alimta) for their mesothelioma and 15 opted only for best supportive care, without chemotherapy. Before treatment began, the researchers used PET-CT to test each patient’s baseline … Continue reading Mesothelioma Prognosis: Some Markers More Useful than Others »

Mesothelioma Patients Live Longer with Multimodal Treatment

Another new study has confirmed that a multimodal approach – in which multiple treatments are used together – is the most reliable way to improve survival in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Doctors in England and Italy have just published their findings on a mesothelioma treatment combination that includes surgery, pleural lavage, radiotherapy and systemic chemotherapy. The study included 102 mesothelioma patients treated between 2004 and 2013 at one of two London hospitals or at the University of Milan. About three quarters of the patients in the study had the epithelioid variety of mesothelioma, which is the most common form. Eighty percent were male. All of the patients underwent the lung-sparing mesothelioma surgery called pleurectomy/decortication (PD) during which the diseased … Continue reading Mesothelioma Patients Live Longer with Multimodal Treatment »

Erionite-Induced Malignant Mesothelioma: Is it Different?

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is usually thought of as an asbestos-related disease. But a growing number of mesothelioma cases are being blamed on another mineral called erionite. A new report attempts to look at the clinical and prognostic differences between mesothelioma caused by erionite and mesothelioma caused by asbestos. Like asbestos, erionite occurs naturally in some soils and is made up of tiny, sharp fibers. Like asbestos, once these fibers enter the lungs through inhalation of dust, or the stomach through accidental ingestion, they can trigger a series of physiological changes in some people that eventually result in cancer. The Study In light of the rising number of erionite-induced mesothelioma cases in Europe and North America, researchers in Turkey, Ohio, and … Continue reading Erionite-Induced Malignant Mesothelioma: Is it Different? »

Evidence Supports Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma Pain Relief

European researchers have a bit of good news for patients coping with the pain that often accompanies late stage malignant pleural mesothelioma. They have found evidence that radiotherapy, which is sometimes prescribed to treat this pain, really can make a difference. The authors, including cancer researchers from both Scotland and Norway, note that, although radiation is often used to treat mesothelioma pain, there has been little research to support the practice. As part of a multi-center phase II clinical trial on the use of radiotherapy for mesothelioma pain, patients were assessed for baseline pain and other symptoms and then treated with 20 Gy of radiation in 5 daily fractions. Mesothelioma pain was evaluated at 5 weeks and again at 12 weeks … Continue reading Evidence Supports Radiotherapy for Mesothelioma Pain Relief »

Occupational Risks of Carbon Nanotubes Include Mesothelioma

Are carbon nanotubes the next asbestos? A new report in Occupational Medicine and Health Affairs suggests that the dangers of working with these tiny particles can include lung cancer and deadly malignant pleural mesothelioma – the same diseases caused by exposure to asbestos. Carbon nanotubes are tubular cylinders of carbon atoms. These tiny manmade particles have been found to have some extraordinary properties – including strength, elasticity and conductivity –  that are useful in making products ranging from baseball bats to electronics and optical lenses. Like asbestos, carbon nanotubes are also resistant to corrosion. As a result, they’re being used with increasing frequency, which means that more workers in these fields are likely to be exposed to them. In a … Continue reading Occupational Risks of Carbon Nanotubes Include Mesothelioma »