From the blog

New mesothelioma treatment method may prolong the effectiveness of chemotherapy combination

Published: January 28, 2016

Chemotherapy remains one of the most effective treatments for mesothelioma. Because there is no cure, it works to prolong the lives of patients. Unfortunately, even the most effective methods can become inadequate as treatments continue. A current clinical trial is attempting to extend the usefulness period of chemotherapy and in turn extend the lives of mesothelioma patients.

As a systemic treatment, chemotherapy enters the bloodstream and travels through the body to kill cancer cells. Typically, it is taken by pill or injected into a vein or muscle. With mesothelioma, it is commonly placed directly into the chest in a process known as intrapleural chemotherapy.

Studies have shown the combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed, two chemotherapy drugs, to be the most effective in treating mesothelioma. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology determined the combination plus vitamin supplements ‘resulted in superior survival time.’

Unfortunately, the cancer cells eventually become immune to the chemotherapy, rendering the treatment useless. The cancer cells fight the chemotherapy and continue to grow, contributing to short survival time after diagnosis.

The current clinical trial, Methoxyamine, Cisplatin, and Pemetrexed Disodium in Treating Patients With Advanced Solid Tumors or Mesothelioma That Cannot Be Removed by Surgery or Mesothelioma That Is Refractory to Cisplatin and Pemetrexed, is finding success adding methoxyamine to the cisplatin and pemetrexed combination to fight the immunity and allow the chemotherapy to continue working.

Methoxyamine is an organic compound and colorless liquid. As a molecule inhibitor, it is typically used to stop damaged cells and DNA from repairing. As a cancer treatment, it is used to stop the repair of pathways that may aid in the cancerous cells continuing to fight the chemotherapy. Additionally, methoxyamine can shrink the tumor and enhance the performance of cisplatin and pemetrexed.

After beginning in August 2015, the clinical trial has seen encouraging results. The estimated enrollment is 58 and it’s looking for patients with mesothelioma who have solid tumors that cannot be treated otherwise as well as diagnoses that prevent certain treatments.

Currently, the studied is located in California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan and Minnesota. If interested, learn more about the clinical trial here or contact the Principal Investigator Marianna Koczywas at the City of Hope Comprehensive Care Center at

  • Boyer et al, “Phase III study of pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin versus cisplatin alone in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma,” Journal of Clinical Oncology (July 2003). [Link]
  • Wikipedia, “Methoxyamine,” (Nov. 2, 2015). [Link]
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