Biologic therapy – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – Treatment Details

Survival: 5.8 months
Toxicity Grade: 4
Treatments: Biologic therapy
Country: United States
City/State/Province: Boston, MA
Hospital: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Journal: Link
Date: 6/2008


Patients: This phase 2 study involved 24 patients with malignant plural mesothelioma. There were 15 men and 9 women, ranging in age from 38 to 76 years of age. The median age was 62.5 years old. These patients had been treated with chemotherapy before.

Treatment: Patients were treated with bevacizumab and erlotinib. These are biological therapies.

Toxicity: Grade 4 pulmonary embolism was reported in one patient, and grade 3 deep vein thrombosis in another. The most common toxicities were rash and diarrhea. Grade 3 rash was reported in 17% of patients, and grade 3 diarrhea in 8% of patients. Grade 1 and 2 toxicities (milder) were more common, and included rash, diarrhea, anorexia, fatigue, dry skin, nausea, mouth sores, and dizziness.

Results: The median overall survival was 5.8 months. The authors concluded that these therapies were not really effective in treating mesothelioma.

Support: This study was supported in part by Genentech, Inc., which markets erlotinib as Tarceva and bevacizumab as Avastin.

Correspondence: Dr. Pasi A. Janne

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