Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer where malignant (cancerous) cells are found in mesothelioma, and it is a protective cyst that covers most of the internal organs of the body. Every year, more than 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed within the United States, many of which end up.
While there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for mesothelioma, researchers and doctors have worked on various treatments to help make this rare form of cancer more manageable. Currently, treatment for mesothelioma is generally dependent on the location and age of the mesothelioma patient. From that point, patients may receive one or more of a range of treatments that include surgery, radiation, and / or chemotherapy.
Is chemotherapy working?
Chemotherapy is a soothing treatment that means it can help reduce symptoms of mesothelioma and possibly the size of the tumors, but it is not curative. Over the past decade, chemotherapy containing cisplatin-antifolate combinations has been shown to improve responses and extend the survival of mesothelioma patients. Building on the successes demonstrated in clinical trials, three research scientists in the Netherlands launched their population-based study in order to “assess the impact of this development on clinical practice and survival at the population level”.
The study focused on 4,731 Dutch patients diagnosed with mesothelioma between 1995 and 2006. In the periods 1995-1998 and 2005-2006, the use of chemotherapy to treat mesothelioma jumped from 8% to 36%. Meanwhile, the survival rate for chemotherapy patients increased from 10.1 months in previous years to 13.1 months in recent years. The researchers summarized their findings by saying that increased use of chemotherapy at the national level has improved survival rates for mesothelioma patients, but they also warn that there may still be alternative explanations as to why this occurs.
Lima and cisplatin
Cisplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapy drug that is marketed as platinum and is used to treat a number of different types of cancer, including mesothelioma and some types of cancer such as small-cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphoma, and germ cell tumors. Within cancer cells, cisplatin and other platinum drugs lead to cell death, killing cancer cells. In the United States, platinum-based cisplatin is usually combined with another drug, ilimta, to treat mesothelioma. Alimta is an anti-fungal drug, which works by blocking the activity of folic acid inside cells that interfere with cellular metabolism.
The FDA agreed to combine Alimta with cisplatin after a clinical trial demonstrated that the two drugs were more effective than one drug. In the July 2003 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, published results reported that the average survival time was 12.1 months for mesothelioma patients who received Alimta and cisplatin versus 9.3 months for mesothelioma patients who just received cisplatin. The researchers also found that adding folic acid and vitamin B12 helped reduce drug toxicity without adversely affecting survival time.
We hope the research continues to have better alternatives (and hopefully it will be a cure) for those with mesothelioma.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always ask your doctor or any other qualified health care provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never ignore professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.