Those mesothelioma patients that have already undergone a chemotherapeutic course course of pemetrexed may gain benefits from undergoing a second course with a different medication known as vinorelbine.
Though Pemetrexed and a platinum-based medication called cisplatin are the most traditional first-line course of chemotherapy treatment used in mesothelioma patients, physicians have found that the use of vinorelbine may be moderately effective.
The study, which was conducted by Italian researchers and which was recently published in the epub Lung Cancer, indicated that though the use of vinorelbine did not significantly extend the life expectancy of mesothelioma patients, it did offer an additional therapeutic option for those that had already undergone other treatments.
One of the advantages that has been cited in the use of vinorelbine is the fact that it is available at a lower cost, in a generic form. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is both rare and deadly. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, and it is generally not diagnosed until it has already progressed to an advanced stage.
Mesothelioma symptoms generally take decades after the exposure takes place, leaving most patients to fight the disease when they have reached an advanced age. Research has been ongoing in finding a cure, but most treatments are considered palliative rather than curative.
Currently, few patients survive more than five years after they are diagnosed. Most survive less than two years after diagnosis.
The Italian study found that in those patients that had originally been treated with the pemetrexed and whose mesothelioma continued to profess, an every-three-week dose of vinorelbine was found to provide a stabilizing effect on the disease’s growth.
Some of the patients included in the study had actually already received an additional medication, making the vinorelbine their third or fourth line of treatment. Though most patients died within six months of beginning the second-line treatment, vinorelbine was found to have minimal side effects as compared to other forms of chemotherapy, thus offering another reason for its use.
Patients that had the longest survival rates out of those included in the study were determined to be those that had been in the best physical condition at the time of their diagnosis, as well as those who had gone the longest period of time between their first course of chemotherapy and the recurrence of the disease.