Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Like many other solid tumors, it has proven to be particularly resistant to traditional treatment approaches. But an innovative dual-pronged attack being tested on the most common types of solid tumors may hold the key to improved outcomes.
Mesothelioma Is a Solid Tumor
Solid tumors like malignant mesothelioma, ovarian cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer share several characteristics, and among these are weaknesses that researchers from The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust are trying to leverage with a combination of precision medicines.
The researchers describe their efforts in the journal Cancer Discovery. They are combining two drugs — olaparib and capivasertib — because they each take advantage of solid tumors’ poor ability to repair their own DNA and their reliance on a specific molecule needed to grow. Initial tests have proven effective in tumors that had stopped responding to chemotherapy, a common occurrence with mesothelioma. Their findings thus far have encouraged them to move forward with more trials.
Phase I Trial Results Offer Hope for Treatment of Solid Tumors Like Mesothelioma
While the current tests are focused on common solid tumors like breast cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer, there is hope that successful results might translate to patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, which is far less common. The Phase I trial followed 64 patients, and of the 56 whose response could be assessed, 25 exhibited positive results, including tumors that had stopped responding to chemotherapy either shrinking or their growth being stopped.
The researchers noted that many of those who had positive responses to the treatment also had a specific genetic mutation. Future trials will pay special attention to whether similar outcomes are achieved in patients whose solid tumors do not share this particular fault.
As researchers focus on improving outcomes for mesothelioma patients, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are working to provide them with the resources they need to face their challenges. For information on how we can help, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.