German Study Offers Good News to Mesothelioma Patients with Non-Epithelioid Histology

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a terminal disease, and patients are told that survival rarely exceeds two years. But a variety of factors impact each patient’s specific prognosis, and one is histological subtype. Patients with epithelioid mesothelioma generally respond better to available treatments and have longer survival times than those with non-epithelioid subtypes. But a recent study conducted by the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) has found that the monoclonal antibodies nivolumab and ipilimumab offers these patients a considerable added benefit compared to platinum-based chemotherapy – and that benefit is greater than that offered to patients with the more common epithelioid type.

Nivolumab and Ipilimumab Recently Approved for Use in Mesothelioma

Nivolumab and Ipilimumab are a powerful monoclonal antibody combination that prolongs survival in many types of cancers, and it was recently approved by the FDA for first-line treatment of mesothelioma patients.  In attempting to determine the effectiveness of the protocol in different histological subtypes of the disease, the researchers found that patients with the rarer, less responsive cell type showed greater benefits than those with the epithelioid type.

The study looked at a group of mesothelioma patients, 78 percent of whom had epithelioid histology and 22 percent of whom had non-epithelioid histology. While both groups saw benefit from the treatment, with overall median survival time four months longer than with the gold-standard chemotherapy treatment, the patients with epithelioid subtype saw a less-than three-month boost. By comparison, the non-epithelioid patients treated with the monoclonal antibody combination saw an eight-month boost in survival over those treated with chemotherapy. Interestingly, the epithelioid group also experienced more serious adverse events from the treatment than was the case for the non-epithelioid group.

Pleural Mesothelioma Patients with Non-Epithelioid See Greater Benefit

Studies have proven that offering mesothelioma patients a treatment protocol that is tailored to their specific condition offers improved quality of life and extended survival. With this study physicians have added to their knowledge as to the best way to treat patients with non-epithelioid mesothelioma.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, cutting-edge research like this can make all the difference. For more information on the resources available to you, 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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