MesotheliomaWeb.Org: Researchers Find New Combination Treatments

MesotheliomaWeb.Org is a valuable information resource for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer that targets the soft tissue around the lungs. MesotheliomaWeb.Org also offers reports on other lung diseases stemming from exposure to asbestos. MesotheliomaWeb.Org frequently issues news updates on the latest progress in the fight against mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. MesotheliomaWeb.Org delivers the most current stories on research project efforts, improvements in treatment methods, and the latest discoveries on tackling this troublesome illness.


A series of experiments conducted in Turkey to study treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma have led to a significant breakthrough. Researchers have found that the treatment using combination of the chemotherapy drugs cisplatin and Raltitrexed (Tomudex(R)) has shown improved effects in mesothelioma patients. Previously, many of these patients had been treated with cisplatin alone, but scientists and doctors have noted remarkable improvements when they used Raltitrexed along with cisplatin.


The research team tested a variety of treatments on 363 patients (217 male, 146 female) that had been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. The patients underwent blood tests, X-rays, CT scans and numerous other examinations before, during and after the study. Results from the treatments showed that a higher percentage of patients showed improvement with the Raltitrexed/cisplatin combination (23.6%) when compared with those who received cisplatin alone (13.6%).


On average, patients who received the combination treatment also lived an average of nearly three months longer than those who only received cisplatin (11.4 months vs. 8.8 months) and showed a longer period where the treatments stopped progression of the disease (5.3 months vs. 4.0 months). For a disease that often shows rapid progress, the study results show some remarkable advancement in how this deadly form of cancer can be treated.


Mesothelioma patients often do not show symptoms until years, or even decades, after their initial exposure period to asbestos. Asbestos fibers work their way through the lung tissue and become embedded in the pleural mesothelium. Over the years, the fibers mutate the healthy cells into malignant cancer cells. As workers who were exposed to asbestos in the 1960s and 1970s grow older, the incidence rates for mesothelioma are expected to rise significantly.


The reports of this potential breakthrough in mesothelioma treatment come as welcome news to the cancer research community. The researchers delivered their findings at a meeting of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Milan, Italy. Many of the doctors, researchers and oncologists at the conference understood the growing problem of mesothelioma. A report from the World Health Organization said that the disease is expected to reach its peak in the next ten to twenty years, when the number of reported cases is expected to double.


Dr. J.P. van Meerbeeck, a professor of Thoracic Oncology at Ghent University in Belgium, said that mesothelioma is a difficult cancer to treat. Patients often have a poor prognosis, typically living less than two years after receiving the diagnosis. Dr. van Meerbeeck said that the results of the study show that combination therapies with proven chemotherapy drugs “are a welcome addition to our therapeutic portfolio”.


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