This year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology’s meeting had to be held virtually in light of the global pandemic, but that has in no way interfered with the revelations of remarkable progress in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Among the presentations was news that Italian researchers have significantly improved survival among mesothelioma patients by treating them with a combination of ramucirumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody and VEGFR2 antagonist, and the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine.
Randomized Phase 2 Mesothelioma Study Shows Improved Survival
The mesothelioma research was conducted at General Hospital Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova — Reggio Emilia in Italy, and according to Maria Pagano, MD, oncologist in the department of oncology and advanced technologies, they are extremely hopeful that the therapy will provide additional time for those struck by the rare, asbestos-related disease.
Speaking to journalists, Dr. Pagano said, “Unfortunately, the lack of therapeutic resources has led us to [intensify] the search for new therapeutic combinations in pleural mesothelioma. These positive data may be the beginning to change the clinical practice in the choice of second-line therapy of pleural mesothelioma.”
Study Investigates Safety and Efficacy of Mesothelioma Treatment
The study followed outcomes of 161 patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma and who had previously received the standard platinum/pemetrexed treatment on days 1 and 8 of each 21-day cycle and were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or ramucirumab along with gemcitabine on day 1. For those who could tolerate this regimen, it was continued until their disease showed signs of progression
The results demonstrated that the combination had a significant impact, increasing overall survival from 7.5 months to 13.8 months and longer median progression free survival from 3.3 months to 6.2 months. Adverse side effects were minimal, with five patients experiencing grade 3 to grade 4 hypertension. Dr. Pagano indicated that their studies will continue.
For those diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, the research coming out of ASCO20 has been extremely promising. If you need information about state-of-the-art treatments, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.