Chemotherapy – Newcastle General Hospital – Treatment Details
This study was published in 2002 and was performed at Newcastle General Hospital in the United Kingdom. It was designed to find the best dose of chemotherapy for pleural mesothelioma patients. The drugs that were tested are the same drugs that are in use today, pemetrexed (Alimta) and carboplatin.
Twenty-seven patients (23 men, four women) were given the chemotherapy drugs with increasing doses. The median survival was reported as 451 days and 70% of patients said that their symptoms improved.
There were some side-effects from the treatment including neutropenia. Neutropenia happens when the concentration of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) in the blood gets very low. Neutrophils are important because they serve as a vital defense against infections. This is why cancer patients are often susceptible to life threatening infections because chemotherapy can compromise their immune system.
The researchers concluded that pemetrexed and carboplatin “is both active and well tolerated in malignant pleural mesothelioma and deserves further exploration.” In fact, this chemo combination is now the only FDA approved drug treatment for mesothelioma and has become the standard of care in the United States.
Patients: This Phase I study involved 27 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. None of these patients had received prior chemotherapy.
Treatment: The treatment consisted of two chemotherapy drugs, pemetrexed and carboplatin (paraplatin).
Toxicity: Toxicities included hematologic (grade 3-4), and grade 1-3 nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomatitis.
Results: Median survival time was 451 days (14.8 months).
Correspondence: Andy Hughes, MD, PhD
See all conventional treatment results for mesothelioma.