Among the various mesothelioma cures being studied around the world, the drug nintedanib showed a great deal of promise. But recent studies have proven so disappointing that a multi center study that included patients across 27 countries has been called to a halt, and patients are being placed on different regimens.
Poor results represent a setback
The end of the mesothelioma study — as well as its trial results — were published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, and represent a significant setback for many who had hoped that it would offer extended progression-free survival for those diagnosed with the rare asbestos-related form of cancer. Mesothelioma strikes approximately 3,500 people a year and has proven exceedingly difficult to treat. It is always considered fatal, with most patients succumbing to the disease in less than two years.
The cancelled trial had enrolled 458 mesothelioma patients, and had involved all of them receiving an innovative treatment involving a chemotherapy combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed: some received a dose of the nintedanib and others received a placebo. While those given nintedanib experienced a median of only 6.8 months of progression-free survival, those who were given placebo lived a few weeks longer, and the median survival rate in the two groups showed similar results, with the nintedanib group living 14.4 months and the placebo group living 16.1 months. Making matters even worse for those with high hopes for nintedanib was the fact that almost half of the group taking the drug experienced serious side effects.
Other immunotherapy drugs still offer hope for mesothelioma patients
Though the drug had shown positive impact on certain types of lung cancer when combined with chemotherapy, the new study results may mark the end of it being considered a viable option for mesothelioma patients. Fortunately there are other immunotherapy drugs that are delivering better results. These include Opdivo (nivolumab) and Yervoy (ipilimumab), both of which have slowed cancerous cell growth in almost half of the patients tested.
If you are a mesothelioma patient who needs information on the latest treatments available, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.