Cholesterol Drugs Provide Longer Survival for Mesothelioma Patients

Researchers in Italy and the Netherlands identified a remarkable result when analyzing survival outcomes of mesothelioma patients in a recent study of PD-1 inhibitors. They found that the positive impact of the promising treatment was elevated among patients taking statin drugs for the treatment of high cholesterol.

PD-1 Inhibitors Represent Future of Mesothelioma Treatment

When mesothelioma tumors form in the body, a protein called PD-1 protects its cells from the body’s immune system. Researchers have created new drugs like Opdivo and Yervoy that act as PD-1 blockers, countering this effect and potentially extending patient survival. An international study gauging the effectiveness of these drugs looked at the outcomes for 82 patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma and 179 diagnosed with lung cancer to gauge the survival impact that the drugs had.

In analyzing outcomes, the researchers noted that of the 253 patients enrolled in the study, some were on statin drugs to control their high cholesterol levels. Fascinatingly, the mesothelioma patients who were treated with both PD-1 blockers and cholesterol drugs experienced slower disease progression than those on the PD-1 blockers alone. Further, those on higher doses of statins experienced the longest survival times. 

Mesothelioma Patients on Statins and PD-1 Blockers Doubled Progression-Free Survival Time

The researchers’ analysis noted that the use of cholesterol drugs had a profound impact on the effectiveness of the PD-1 blockers, with the tumors of those taking statins not progressing for 6.7 months as compared to 2.4 months for those who were not on the drug. Patients on both medications enjoyed five more months of median overall survival.

According to lead author Luca Cantini of the AOU Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, Italy, “Multivariable analysis confirmed the correlation between statin use and better progression free survival and overall survival in malignant pleural mesothelioma.” The same did not hold true for patients being treated with chemotherapy rather than the PD-1 blocker protocol.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, research like this delivers remarkable information. For access to more up-to-the-minute data, 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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