Chemotherapy to Extend Mesothelioma Survival Rate
According to a US study, survival rate for mesothelioma patients is higher when given chemotherapy. Patients getting pemetrexed and cisplatin along with the vitamin supplements folic acid and B12 were found surviving approximately three months more than patients receiving cisplatin alone.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer which can be caused by previous exposure to asbestos only. In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and chest cavity), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) or the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart). Generally, mesothelioma is found in people who have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.
Dr. John Green at the Clatterbridge Center for Oncology in England said they have reviewed a study of 448 patients with malignant mesothelioma who were treated either with the single drug or a combination of both.
"Pemetrexed used in combination with cisplatin significantly increases the length of survival, when compared with cisplatin alone. Further research is needed into the optimum treatment regimen for pleural mesothelioma,"Â the researchers said.
Data from a clinical trail of 20 treatment centers were examined by the researchers. The average age of the patients was 61 and 81 percent of the patients were men. An average 2.8 months longer survival rate was found in victims treated with the combination of drugs. As per report, their quality of life in terms of fatigue, loss of appetite, pain and cough also was improved.
According to Baram, it's a personal matter whether extending of survival for patients is worthwhile or not. "It depends in large part on the patient. A 2.8-month mean survival increase means that some patients may get even more than that, though some people will get less. Many, if not most, patients when faced with a disease with a very bad prognosis are often willing to undergo aggressive therapy, although the toxicity is serious and potentially life-threatening," he said.