Chemotherapy Treatment Showing Success in Trials with Mesothelioma
Researchers in France and Germany are currently testing a “spray-on” chemotherapy that could potentially be very instrumental in treating certain kinds of malignant mesothelioma.
This new and minimally-invasive way of delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to the tumor is known as Pressurized Intraperitoneal Aerosol Chemotherapy (PIPAC) and is designed to be used on patients who are suffering from the peritoneal form of mesothelioma. Similarly, PITAC – the T for thoracic – can be used with patients who have malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The drug, which is a mixture of doxorubicin and cisplatin, is administered through a small incision and is sprayed onto the site of the tumor.
It has already been used on hundreds of cancer patients throughout Europe with much success, report researchers. The current trial, however, is the first one that addresses the spray-on drug for use in treating malignant mesothelioma.
The 29 patients involved in the meso study received an average of 2.5 treatments each with PIPAC or PITAC. The treatments were delivered about six weeks apart.
Then researchers then calculated the results of the treatment in regards to tumor regression and issues with serious side effects.
In the 20 patients who received more than two PIPAC/PITAC procedures, 15 of them (75%) experienced some amount of regression of their mesothelioma tumors.
In 20 percent of these patients, that regression was described as major, and in 10 percent, it was described as “complete regression”, notes an article by the study authors.
Only 2 participants experienced serious complications and these complications were limited to individuals who had already had cytoreductive surgery.
“After a follow-up of 14.4 months after the last PIPAC/PITAC application, median overall survival was 26.6 months (from the first application),” the researchers reported in the journal BMC Cancer.
Hence, they concluded that PIPAC “induces significant histological regression of malignant mesothelioma in the majority of peritoneal patients.”
They were not as adamant about success with the PITAC procedure and said that “the jury is still out on its safety and efficacy” in controlling malignant pleural effusions.
This study represents yet another glimmer of hope for those who have been saddled with a disease that is normally caused by someone else’s negligence.
This discovery will be too late for those who are already in the deep throes of the disease but will hopefully aid the next generation of mesothelioma patients.
Sadly, as asbestos is not banned in the U.S., the sad legacy of asbestos exposure continues and diagnoses of mesothelioma will keep occurring throughout the next few decades, medical experts predict.
Hence, drug trials continue as well.