In the quest to find a cure for malignant mesothelioma, one of the most promising areas of research involves stopping angiogenesis, the generation of blood vessels that supply essential nutrients to tumors and facilitate their growth. A group of Italian researchers tested the use of gemcitabine, a metabolic inhibitor, in combination with ramucirumab, a drug that damages new blood vessel cells, on human patients previously diagnosed with the rare and fatal form of cancer. They found the combination significantly extended patient survival.
Italian Researchers Assess Efficacy and Safety of Drug Combination
The mesothelioma study was conducted by researchers from the Medical Oncology Unit of AUSL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia in Reggio Emilia, Italy and the Department of Biomedical Sciences of Humanitas University in Milan, Italy. The scientists sought to assess the safety and effectiveness of using gemcitabine with and without ramucirumab as a second-line treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The group identified a total of 161 patients being treated for malignant mesothelioma across 26 hospitals in Italy. All had previously been treated with pemetrexed plus platinum. They were randomly assigned to receive either gemcitabine and a placebo or gemcitabine with ramucirumab until tumor progression or unacceptable toxicity, all with the goal of identifying overall survival and analyzing safety among those who received at least one dose.
Ramucirumab With Gemcitabine Seen as New Option for Mesothelioma Treatment
The positive outcome seen in the combination of ramucirumab with gemcitabine in mesothelioma was very clear. The median overall survival for those who received the placebo was 7.5 months, while those who received the ramucirumab had a median overall survival of 13.8 months. Though there were some adverse events, none resulted in death. The researchers concluded that the combination “significantly improved overall survival” and could be a new option for patients.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, having current news on research can help identify your options. For access to these resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.