Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre have just revealed successful treatment of malignant mesothelioma in laboratory animals through a novel combination of drugs that are already in use in treatment of other tumors. The scientists say that their discovery stemmed from an analysis of the rare asbestos-related form of cancer’s key molecular processes.
Mesothelioma Study Yields Improved Response and Prognostic Benefits
The mesothelioma study was led by Paco Real, Head of the Epithelial Carcinogenesis Group at CNIO and researcher Miriam Marqués, and were published in the journal Cancer Research. They not only reveal the positive outcomes of combining the drugs Selumetinib and AZD8186, but also say that the molecular markers that they identified can be used predictively to determine whether patients are likely to benefit from various therapy protocols and participation in clinical trials.
“The results of the study are relevant because mesothelioma has not been widely studied, has a poor prognosis and no targeted therapies,” says Real. “We have found evidence in mice and human cell lines of the potential effectiveness of two compounds that are by no means new. Now we want to start performing clinical trials as soon as possible.”
Mesothelioma Incidence Expected to Increase in Spain
Spain and the rest of Europe face an anticipated increase in mesothelioma diagnoses over the next several years. Though the incidence in the country currently stands at about five people per million, asbestos was used constantly through 2001 when it was banned, and that means that those who were exposed have the potential for becoming victims.
Despite widespread concerns about malignant mesothelioma, it was not the original subject of the researcher’s study. The lab animals in a study of tumor suppressor genes in bladder cancer developed sarcomatoid mesothelioma instead, and in examining why the cancer had developed so quickly, the scientists found increased activity of two molecular pathways. They found that administering the two medications decreased the mesothelioma’s aggressiveness. Future studies are planned.
Malignant mesothelioma afflicts people all over the world. If you or someone you love is dealing with this rare asbestos-related disease, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608 to learn how we can help.