The results are in from a phase II study that tested a combination of standard chemotherapy with a new immunotherapy drug on patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, and the results have been described as “remarkable.” The immunotherapy drug is durvalumab (brand name Infinzi) and it was developed by Medimmune/AstraZeneca. The results will be presented at the American Society of Oncology (ASCO) Virtual Annual Meeting this week. The next step is a phase III clinical trial.
FDA-Approved Immunotherapy Drug Being Tested in Mesothelioma Patients
Patients diagnosed with inoperable malignant pleural mesothelioma have few good options available to them, with the FDA-approved chemotherapy treatment of pemetrexed and cisplatin generally providing about one year of survival under the best circumstances. In the clinical trial combining chemotherapy with the AstraZeneca immunotherapy treatment branded Infinzi, researchers are testing two separate FDA-approved treatments for cancer, though not specifically for mesothelioma.
Speaking of the results of the phase II study, lead investigator Patrick Forde, MD, of Johns Hopkins University said, “Durvalumab plus standard chemotherapy delivered a promising median overall survival rate for patients with previously untreated, inoperable malignant pleural mesothelioma. The data signal us to move forward with a phase three study.”
Results Offer Hope to Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma is an extremely aggressive form of cancer, and improved survival time is measured in months rather than years. That is why researchers are so encouraged by the results of the durvalumab/chemotherapy combination test. Median overall survival of those involved in the study was 20.4 months, a full 8.2 months longer than has been shown in previous studies of patients receiving the standard chemotherapy treatment. A remarkable 44.2% of patients being treated with the combination were still alive at 24 months into the study.
The progression-free survival experienced by those in the study was equally encouraging, with 69.1% of patients in the study progression free at six months. Though one patient progressed on treatment, 56.4% had partial response and 40% had stable disease. The combination was also well tolerated, with mostly mild adverse events reported by those who had any at all. Looking forward, Peter J. O’Dwyer, MD, chief executive officer and chair of PrECOG, the research organization that designed and conducted the trial said, “This is a remarkable result in mesothelioma, and warrants confirmation in a randomized phase three trial, which is already in the planning.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information on clinical trials or other advancements in the treatment of the disease, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.