Chemotherapy for mesothelioma
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. This type of mesothelioma treatment involves the cancer being treated with the use of special chemical substances. This type of treatment helps to control the cancer by stopping its growth and by stopping it spreading throughout the body. The chemotherapy drugs fight the abnormal cancer cells and help to stem their uncontrolled growth. Chemotherapy treats cancer with drugs that destroy cancer cells. It may be used to shrink a tumor
before surgery (neo-adjuvant therapy), to help destroy cancer cells that may remain after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy), to make radiation therapy or immunotherapy work more effectively, or to help destroy cancer that recurs or has spread from the site of the original tumor. It may also be used as a stand-alone treatment in cases where the patient is not a surgical candidate.
Chemotherapy cannot cure mesothelioma. Some chemotherapy drugs have a partial effect in some patients. Combination chemotherapy (using more than one drug at the same time) may be given in an attempt to improve the patient's response to the medications. Some combinations have shown some promise, and some new medications are being tried. Chemotherapy has not had tremendous success in the treatment of mesothelioma. Many clinical trials using single agent chemotherapeutics reported short-term regression and symptomatic improvement in 15-20 percent of patients. Median survival remained nine months. Like radiation therapy, chemotherapy may be administered after surgery in an attempt to kill cancer cells that could not be removed during the procedure.
Chemotherapy may be taken by pill, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or muscle. Chemotherapy is called a systemic treatment because the drug enters the bloodstream, travels through the body, and can kill cancer cells throughout the body. In mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be put directly into the chest (intrapleural chemotherapy). In treating mesothelioma, these drugs may also be given intrapleurally (directly into the chest cavity), or intraperitoneally (into the abdominal cavity). Depending on the type and stage of mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be given as the primary (main) treatment or as an adjuvant (addition) to surgery. Chemotherapy for this disease is palliative and not curative.
Several anticancer drugs have been used to treat mesothelioma. The drug most effective when given alone is doxorubicin (Adriamycin). Other drugs that may be given alone include cisplatin, gemcitabine, methotrexate, vinorelbine, and capecitabine. These anticancer drugs are often given in combination to try to increase their effectiveness. Combinations of drugs used in the treatment of mesothelioma include methotrexate and vincristine, cisplatin, vinblastine and mitomycin, cisplatin and doxorubicin, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide (or ifosfamide) and cisplatin, and cisplatin and gemcitabine. Other drugs such as paclitaxel and irinotecan are currently being studied to determine their effectiveness in treating mesothelioma. Anti-folate chemotherapy works by interfering with normal cellular metabolic pathways including those necessary for making new DNA. Recently, newer anti-folates have received more attention in mesothelioma. Pemetrexed was approved for use in combination with cisplatin. In clinical trials, patients given the combination of these two drugs had a prolongation of survival by three months over those who took cisplatin alone.
More information on mesothelioma cancer
What is mesothelioma cancer? - Mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order.
What types of mesothelioma are there? - Mesotheliomas consist of two general types-benign and malignant. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancerous tumor of the pleura.
What is pleural mesothelioma? - Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the cells that make up the pleura or lining around the outside of the lungs and inside of the ribs.
What is peritoneal mesothelioma? - Peritoneal mesothelioma is a cancer affecting the abdominal lining, or peritoneum. Peritoneal mesothelioma is a tumor of this membrane.
What is malignant mesothelioma? - Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the sac lining the chest (the pleura) or abdomen (the peritoneum).
What causes mesothelioma? - Asbestos exposure is the main cause of mesothelioma. The chances of suffering from mesothelioma rise with the intensity and duration of exposure to asbestos.
What're the risk factors for mesothelioma? - The main risk factors for malignant mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. Other risk factors include radiation, zeolite, tobacco, and SV40 Virus.
Who's at increased risk for developing mesothelioma? - Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma.
Asbestos and mesothelioma - Asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer are the three most frequent causes of death and disease among people with heavy asbestos exposure.
Where is asbestos found? - Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products. Exposure to asbestos can occur in home improvement and construction projects.
When is asbestos dangerous? - Asbestos is hazardous when it is friable. The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing.
How to reduce asbestos exposure? - Reducing exposure to asbestos by repairing damaged material will involve covering the material or sealing asbestos material.
What's the mesothelioma survival rate? - Mesothelioma is a serious disease. The average age at diagnosis is 50 to 70 years old. The average survival time is about one year.
What're the symptoms of mesothelioma? - Symptoms of mesothelioma include pain in the lower back or at the side of the chest, cough, fever, sweating, fatigue, and weight loss.
How is mesothelioma diagnosed? - Diagnosis of mesothelioma begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure.
How is mesothelioma staged? - Staging of mesothelioma is based on imaging studies such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. Malignant mesothelioma moves through four stages.
What's the treatment for mesothelioma? - Treatment for mesothelioma cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is a common treatment for mesothelioma.
Treatment of malignant mesothelioma by stage - Most patients with stage I mesothelioma have their cancer surgically removed by pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy.
Surgery for mesothelioma - Surgery for malignant mesothelioma can be aimed at long-term control of the cancer (aggressive surgery) or relief of symptoms (palliative procedures).
Chemotherapy for mesothelioma - Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In mesothelioma, chemotherapy may be put directly into the chest.
Radiation therapy for mesothelioma - Radiation is useful because mesothelioma is made up of rapid growing cells and radiation is most effective on cells that divide rapidly.
How to prevent malignant mesothelioma? - The risk of malignant mesothelioma can be reduced by avoiding getting exposed to asbestos.
What's the prognosis of malignant mesothelioma? - The survival time after diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is about one year. Prognosis for malignant mesothelioma depends on how early it is diagnosed.
What about the mesothelioma lawsuits? - Mesothelioma lawsuits are classified into two groups: personal injury, and wrongful death. Mesothelioma lawsuits usually seek compensation for medical costs.
Who is mesothelioma attorney (lawyer)? - The benefits of hiring a mesothelioma attorney are numerous. A mesothelioma lawyer is able to provide both advice and assistance.