Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is one of the most commonly used treatments for cancer. The standard first-line chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma is pemetrexed (Alimta®) and Cisplatin. Some recent studies show that combining these drugs with bevacizumab (Avastin) can improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy against mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy (literally “chemical therapy”) is the use of certain medications to kill cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. A number of different chemotherapy drugs are available to treat mesothelioma, although some of these drugs have proven to be more successful than others.

How Chemotherapy Treats Mesothelioma
Chemotherapy can be used to treat mesothelioma patients in two ways. Either or both of these methods may be used in conjunction with surgery and/or radiation, depending on the treatment plan developed by the doctor and the patient.

Systemic Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can be given intravenously or as a pill. It then travels throughout the bloodstream and reaches the entire body. Systemic chemotherapy carries the most side effects because in addition to killing cancer cells, it also kills other fast-growing cells such as hair and blood cells.

Intraoperative Chemotherapy
In some cases, chemotherapy can be delivered directly to the area where tumors have formed, often with fewer side effects than systemic chemotherapy. Intrapleural chemotherapy and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) have become more popular in recent years, with great results.

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is one of the most commonly used treatments for cancer. The standard first-line chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma is pemetrexed (Alimta®) and Cisplatin. Some recent studies show that combining these drugs with bevacizumab (Avastin) can improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy against mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy (literally “chemical therapy”) is the use of certain medications to kill cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. A number of different chemotherapy drugs are available to treat mesothelioma, although some of these drugs have proven to be more successful than others.

How Chemotherapy Treats Mesothelioma
Chemotherapy can be used to treat mesothelioma patients in two ways. Either or both of these methods may be used in conjunction with surgery and/or radiation, depending on the treatment plan developed by the doctor and the patient.

Systemic ChemotherapyIntraoperative Chemotherapy
Intraoperative Chemotherapy
In some cases, chemotherapy can be delivered directly to the area where tumors have formed, often with fewer side effects than systemic chemotherapy. Intrapleural chemotherapy and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) have become more popular in recent years, with great results.

First-Line and Second-Line Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy treatments are often discussed as being first-line and second-line (or even third-line) treatments. These refer to the chemotherapy treatments given first, second, third, and so on, based on their effectiveness.

The most common first-line treatment for mesothelioma is a combination – often called a “cocktail” – of pemetrexed and a platinum-based drug such as cisplatin or carboplatin. This combination has been found to be the most effective in treating mesothelioma, and therefore, it is usually administered first.

If the first-line treatment does not work, a second-line treatment may be tried. There is currently no consensus within the medical community about the best second-line treatment for mesothelioma. Doctors will often make their best decision on which drugs can best treat the disease based on the patient’s specific circumstances.

Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Drugs

A number of different chemotherapy drugs can be used to treat mesothelioma. The recommended chemotherapy drug will vary with each patient. Oncologists choose the drugs they believe will most benefit the patient while also taking into consideration side effects and other important issues.

Currently, the most widely used drug and the one with which doctors have had the most success is Pemetrexed (Alimta®). This drug is usually used in tandem with a platinum agent like Cisplatin and has been shown to add several months to the patient's mesothelioma life expectancy in many cases.

Pemetrexed (Alimta®)
Pemetrexed is the most common chemotherapy drug used to treat mesothelioma, often given in conjunction with cisplatin. It is an injected drug, and patients will often be given corticosteroids and prescribed vitamin B9 (folic acid) and B12 supplements to prevent certain harmful side effects.

Cisplatin
Cisplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapy drug administered through an IV. Along with pemetrexed, it is one of the most common mesothelioma drugs. In many cases, doctors will treat mesothelioma patients with cisplatin for unresectable tumors (i.e., when surgery is not an option).

Carboplatin
Another platinum-based drug, carboplatin was derived from cisplatin in the 1980s. Although it typically has fewer and milder side effects than cisplatin, it can also inhibit the body’s production of blood cells, leading to an increased likelihood of fatigue and infection.

Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
Typically administered in combination with carboplatin, gemcitabine is used to treat lung, bladder, and ovarian cancers. In clinical trials, it has been shown to be a relatively effective chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma, and is often used as a second-line treatment.

Ranpirnase (Onconase)
Granted orphan drug status by the FDA in 2007, ranpirnase is an enzyme that has been shown in clinical trials to effectively kill mesothelioma cells by breaking down their RNA. It is unique in that it does this without affecting healthy cells, which severely reduces the potential side effects of chemotherapy.

Vinorelbine (Navelbine)
Primarily used to treat non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), vinorelbine has also been shown to be somewhat effective against mesothelioma. It works by triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells.

Source : https://www.mesothelioma.com/treatment/chemotherapy/

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