Testing 527 Cancer Drugs on Mesothelioma

Testing 527 Cancer Drugs on Mesothelioma

A new study from Finland tested over 500 cancer drugs on malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) cells to find new treatments for this aggressive disease.

As of this writing, the only FDA approved chemotherapy for MPM is a combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin. Even though this is the most common first-line treatment for MPM, it is not always effective at improving survival.

This is why studies that look for new drug treatments are so important. This research can help doctors to find better treatments for MPM in the future.

Worldwide Poor Prognosis

MPM is a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It affects the membranes around the lungs and can spread to the lungs and elsewhere in the chest.

MPM has a rising incidence which will continue worldwide until around 2030. MPM patients often face a poor prognosis. Many have only 4 to 12 months of survival after diagnosis if untreated. Most treatments aim to improve the patient’s quality of life and prolong survival.

Standard therapies for MPM include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. If more than one of these therapies is used it may be called multimodal therapy.

Effective Drugs for Mesothelioma

In this study, the researchers looked at 527 cancer drugs in a lab setting. They took the 19 drugs that had the best results and ran more tests on them.

The researchers were able to find two types of drugs that had positive results in the lab. These two types of drugs are called mTOR inhibitors and Chk1 inhibitors. They work by stopping the mesothelioma cells from growing and spreading.

Now that researchers know these drugs are effective in a lab, they can do more studies on them to learn more about how they work.

Approximately 2,500 people in the US receive a mesothelioma diagnosis each year. Most of them worked in an industry that exposed them to asbestos.


Ollila-Raj H, Murumägi A, Pellinen T, et al. Novel therapeutic approaches for pleural mesothelioma identified by functional ex vivo drug sensitivity testing [published online ahead of print, 2023 Mar 1]. Lung Cancer. 2023;178:213-219. doi:10.1016/j.lungcan.2023.02.024. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36878102/

Similar Posts