Mesothelioma News: New Mesothelioma Guidelines – July 2016
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has changed its recommended first line treatment for unresectable pleural mesothelioma. This change is fueled by the belief that this will extend the patient survival rate greatly. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network advisory panel added to the normal chemotherapy combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin, a drug called bevacizumab. Bevacizumab is also known as avastin. The addition is said to stop the forming of new blood vessels in tumors. By stopping the forming of new blood vessels the drug slows down the growth of the cancer cells. Avastin has been successfully used to treat some types of lung cancer.
The stand taken by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to add to the first line of treatment may see the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) change its approved standard core treatment for mesothelioma. The standard treatment approved by the FDA is that of pemetrexed and cisplatin. This treatment has been the standard treatment in place since 2004. The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network has already published the including of avastin to the primary treatment of pleural mesothelioma.
The drug is said to have improved survival time of patients with pleural mesothelioma. It must be noted that clinical trials were carried out in France. The clinical trials included four hundred and forty eight (448) pleural mesothelioma patients. The clinical trials were carried out at seventy three (73) different sites between 2008 and 2014. The results of the trials were that the use of avastin improved the survival time of pleural mesothelioma patients by two point seven (2.7) months. Patients received a combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin while almost half received the same drugs with the addition of avastin.
The average overall survival was eighteen point eight (18.8) months for patients receiving the drug. However, it was sixteen point one (16.1) months for patients not receiving avastin. Furthermore, forty five (45) patients receiving the drug lived for at least thirty (30) months while only thirty six (36) lived that long without avastin.
In addition the side effects of the new drug were reported to be more adverse than the other two drugs but were deemed manageable.