New Dosing Regimen Enables Alimta for Mesothelioma Patients With Kidney Disease

People diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are frequently hampered by previously existing medical conditions. Many have diabetes or heart conditions that make treatment an additional challenge, and mesothelioma patients with poor kidney function have been especially handicapped because they have been unable to benefit from Alimta, which is the chemotherapy medication that has become the gold standard for treatment. Though it had previously been theorized that people with kidney problems would absorb too much of the medication for it to be safe, researchers in the Netherlands have found that shifting the dosing strategy gets around this problem.

Finding a way to deliver a potent drug to kidney patients with mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is always considered a fatal condition, and that is in large part a result of the condition frequently being diagnosed when it is its latest stages. Alimta is one of the few protocols that have been found to slow the disease’s progression, and it does so by blocking the production of folate, which is needed for the malignant cells to replicate.  The treatment has not been available to those with kidney dysfunction because their bodies’ inability to filter the blood properly means that they could absorb too much of the medication, potentially with toxic effects.

Dutch researchers propose new dosing strategy

Dutch pharmacology experts have been working to find a way to allow mesothelioma patients suffering from renal disease to use Alimta, and they believe that they have found it in the way that the medication’s dosage is calculated. Where it is generally calculated based on total body surface area (BSA), they have proposed that they use a pharmacokinetic calculation that predicts absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of substances.

Writing in the journal Lung Cancer, the researchers said, “BSA-based dosing introduces large variability in exposure and may lead to (hemato)toxicity in patients with impaired renal function.” Testing their theory on two mesothelioma patients, they found that “Both patients had an exposure above target after the initial dose, but a proportional dose reduction resulted in a therapeutic exposure in both patients (185 and 166?mg·h/L, respectively), that was well-tolerated.”

Though enabling Alimta’s use in kidney patients with mesothelioma is a step forward, the medical community is still searching for a real cure for the rare and deadly form of cancer. If you or someone you love has mesothelioma and you need information about resources, 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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