Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer of the mesothelium, which lines the lungs, heart, abdomen, and tunica vaginalis testis after exposure to asbestos. The most common type is pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lining of the lungs. There is no cure, so the best option for people with this cancer is undergoing clinical trials that help find new treatments. These clinical trials have helped improve the standard of care for mesothelioma patients and have created new treatments that help improve mesothelioma sufferers’ overall lives.
A clinical trial looking at transarterial chemoperfusion for patients with relapsed pleural mesothelioma is showing promising results. The study is at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. It has the potential to extend many peoples’ lives and has already helped at least one patient. If more patients undergo this therapy, many more people have the potential to live longer lives.
Transarterial chemoperfusion is a therapy that identifies blood vessels that feed tumors then doses them with large amounts of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy is very localized, so it does not go throughout the body, minimizing the negative effects of the treatment. Chemotherapy is injected into the main mammary artery supplying the pleura and the descending aorta which supplies the intercoastal vessels that reach the pleura. The three drugs include cisplatin, gemcitabine, and methotrexate. The entire process takes two hours, one hour for the procedure and one hour for recovery.
The side effects are very reasonable for this procedure. One of the patients it is being tested on is sluggish and tired for a few days after the procedure, but after a week is back to normal. While the positive effects are great for at least one patient, not all patients respond as well to the treatment. A lot of these patients have already been treated in other ways and the treatments have failed, so it may not be the treatment but rather the disease progressing too far.
There were 27 patients in the trial and the disease control rate for these patients was 70.3 percent. The median progression free survival was 4.6 months. The median overall survival ended up being 8.5 months from the first treatment. There were no treatment caused deaths and the complication rate was only 1.4 percent. The majority of the patients in the study have died though, with only nine patients still alive. The median amount of treatments per patient were four, but the most successful patient has done 30 treatments. If this treatment is found to be successful more people could live longer lives.