There is seldom good news awaiting those who suffer from mesothelioma following workplace exposures to asbestos, but recently a small beacon of hope appeared on the horizon. A French study involving a triad of cancer drugs showed slight improvement in patients that was considered statistically significant.
Paris-Diderot University’s chief of thoracic oncology and his colleagues studied the efficacy of the addition of bevacizumab to the cisplatin and pemetrexed that are the current treatment standard of care to see whether the new drug increased rates of overall survival.
They conducted a phase 3 trial that was both controlled and randomized. Their subjects were 448 adults ranging in age from 18 to 75 who had recently been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma but had never received any treatment.
The premise behind the research trials was to see if primary mitogens of vascular endothelial growth factor could be targeted to increase OS rates.
Patients were treated for as many as six cycles of 21-day drug regimens, or until the toxicity exceeded therapeutic levels. Those taking the third drug in conjunction with the other two were found to have longer median survival rates of 18.8 months compared to the 16.1 months for those who only took the cisplatin with pemetrexed.
The new treatment is prohibitively expensive, especially in countries like the United States where medical coverage is still spotty despite passage of the Affordable Care Act. This is a vital reason why it is necessary to take aggressive legal action when filing claims for asbestos exposure, as there are asbestos trust funds established to pay out claims from bankrupt companies to those suffering from meothelioma.
Source: Healio, “Triplet extends OS in newly diagnosed pleural mesothelioma,” Zalcman G, et al., Zauderer MG., accessed April 15, 2016