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Bevacizumab Trials Continue To Be Encouraging

Attendees at the 2015 World Conference on Lung Cancer, held September 6th through 9th in Denver, Colorado, were treated to some encouraging news from French scientists working on a phase II/III MAPS trial of using Bevacizumab in combination with pemetrexed and cisplatin in the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. According to lead author Arnaud Scherpereel, MD, PhD, head of the Pulmonary and Thoracic Oncology Department and professor at the University Hospital (CHU) of Lille, France, the triplet approach has been shown to reduce the risk of death by nearly 25 percent, and has slowed disease progression significantly.

“The treatment of pemetrexed, cisplatin and bevacizumab is a new treatment paradigm for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma,” said Scherpereel in a press conference at the meeting. He added that the addition of the new drug had been associated with “only a slight, manageable increase in toxicity.” Bevacizumab is an angiogenesis inhibitor, and the group’s tests have shown that its use in combination with the standard cisplatin/pemetrexed treatment has extended overall survival in patients by more than two months. Patients treated with the standard protocol had a median overall survival of 16.1 months, while those who were given the additional third medication had a median overall survival of 18.8 months. Disease progression time improved by 39 percent from 7.48 months in the standard protocol group to 9.59 months in the group that received the bevacizumab.

All of the 448 patients enrolled in the study had never received chemotherapy and were diagnosed with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma at roughly the same stage. No patients with brain metastases were permitted in the study, and all received radiotherapy prior to the start of chemotherapy. They were treated for six 21-day cycles, with the group that was given bevacizumab receiving an additional maintenance dose of the medication until they reached a level of unacceptable toxicity or their disease began to progress again. All were assessed at 39.4 months.

According to Philip Bonomi, M.D., and professor of medical oncology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, “These are very exciting data and I hope it becomes the standard of care.”

Though Dr. Scherpereel noted that both study groups in the trial exhibited longer overall survival times than in previous studies, “bevacizumab did better.”

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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