Australian Study of New Drug Combination Shows Promise For Mesothelioma Patients

The use of immunotherapy in combination with chemotherapy is among the most promising treatments being studied in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma. Results just reported from a multi-center study out of Australia have shown that a combination of durvalumab — a programmed cell death ligand 1 inhibitor — and a chemotherapy treatment of pemetrexed plus cisplatin/carboplatin, has yielded results superior to the use of chemotherapy alone.

Combination Therapy Effective for Mesothelioma Patients Ineligible for Curative Surgery

The mesothelioma study’s results were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. It involved patients who had not previously been treated for the rare and fatal form of cancer. Enrolled patients were treated with six cycles of the chemotherapy and immunotherapy combination, then provided with another 12 cycles of the immunotherapy treatment after their chemotherapy regimen was completed.

The study’s primary endpoint was gauging progression-free survival for mesothelioma tumors at six months after the end of treatment, as well as assessment of the objective response rate, overall survival, and safety. They found that at the six-month point, 57% of the 54 patients involved were alive without evidence of disease progression. This can be compared to previous results for mesothelioma patients treated with cisplatin alone, whose median time to progression was 3.9 months, and to those treated with a combination of cisplatin plus pemetrexed whose median time to progression was 5.7 to 7 months.

Follow Up At 28.2 Months Delivers Positive News

Though malignant pleural mesothelioma is always considered fatal, any extension of progression-free survival is considered a victory. When the 54 patients involved in the study were followed up 28.2 months later, the median progression-free survival time was between 6.9 months and 7.0 months, and objective response rate was 48%. No patients had a complete response.

As for the survival of the mesothelioma patients involved, their median overall survival was 18.4 months, with 65% of patients alive at one year and 37% alive two years later. Notably, the most common adverse events were nausea, neutropenia and anemia. Roughly 15% of patients experienced immune-related adverse effects, and none of the patients who died while on the study were judged to be caused by the study drugs.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, news of promising studies is what gives you hope. For information on other breakthroughs and treatment options, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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