Alternative – Chemotherapy – University of Turin – Treatment Details
This chemotherapy and vitamin treatment was tested in Italy over 15 years ago. The results were published in 2003. In this experiment, the doctors gave pleural mesothelioma patients pemetrexed (Alimta). Today, Alimta and cisplatin (or carboplatin) is considered the standard of care.
In this Italian study, the vitamins folic acid and B12 were given to some patients and not to others. The idea was to see which group survived longer. The reason these vitamins were chosen was because it was (and still is) known that pemetrexed depletes these vitamins (pemetrexed is an antifolate).
A total of 64 patients were enrolled in the study. The median overall survival was 13.0 months for the pleural mesothelioma patients who received the vitamins and 8.0 months for the patients who did not Side effects included: neutropenia, leukopenia and fatigue. What was also interesting was that the frequency of these toxicities was lower in the patients who received the vitamins.
The doctors concluded that their results demonstrated that pleural mesothelioma patients “could benefit from single-agent pemetrexed treatment combined with vitamin supplementation.”
Patients: This Phase II study involved 64 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who had not had chemotherapy previously and who could not be cured by surgery alone.
Treatment: Patients were divided into two groups. “Supplemented Patients” comprised of 43 patients and “Non-Supplemented Patients” comprised of 21 patients. Supplemented patients received the drug Pemetrexed. In addition, folic acid and vitamin B12 was administered before and during Premetrexed administration to the supplemented patients. Non-supplemented patients just received Pemetrexed. (However, five of these 21 patients did receive folic acid and vitamin B12 after beginning Pemetrexed therapy.)
Toxicity: For supplemented patients, toxicities included grade 3-4 neutrophils, and grade 3 leukocytes, platelets, hemoglobin, alkaline phosphatase, and ALT.
Results: Median overall survival for the supplemented patients was 13.0 months.
Correspondence: Giorgio Scagliotti, MD
See all conventional treatment results for mesothelioma.