French Study Promising for Triplet Drug Cocktail to Treat Mesothelioma

Adding bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma of the lungs showed positive results.

Results of a new drug trial that promises to improve treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma patients were announced at the May 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology or ASCO in Chicago. French researchers found that the addition of Avastin, generically called bevacizumab, to standard chemotherapy tended to lengthen the lives of mesothelioma patients suffering from the fatal asbestos-related cancer of the lining of the lungs.

A product of Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche and its American counterpart Genentech, Avastin is an antibody that inhibits tumor growth by controlling blood supply. The drug is already used to treat other types of cancer like colorectal, kidney, cervical, certain lung cancers and more.

After taking bevacizumab in combination with two chemotherapy drugs (pemetrexed and cisplatin) normally used to treat pleural mesothelioma, patients had a median gain of 2.7 more months of survival than those receiving standard therapy, according to Roche. This translates into a "statistically significant 24 percent reduction in the risk of death" with manageable side effects.

The study was sponsored by the French Collaborative Thoracic Intergroup or IFCT, a group of physicians dedicated to research in lung cancer treatment. Roche reports that these study results are the first in more than 10 years that promise to extend the lives of mesothelioma patients.

The Lauderdale Daily News reports that doctors were significantly impressed by the presentation of the study results at the ASCO meeting. Physicians quoted felt that the discovery will actually change the standard of care for the disease, although concerns were expressed about the additional associated costs.

Pleural Mesothelioma Basics

Mesothelioma is an asbestos-caused cancer of the linings around major organs. This study focused on pleural mesothelioma, that impacting the lining of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma occurs in about three-quarters of mesothelioma cases, according to the American Cancer Society.

The Society describes how pleural mesothelioma develops after exposure to airborne microscopic asbestos fibers, often in a workplace setting. The fibers are inhaled, enter the lungs, and move to the ends of small air passages and into the pleural lining, where they "injure" the cells to cause mesothelioma. It can take decades, however, for the disease to manifest itself and by the time it is finally diagnosed, most patients do not have long to live.

Pleural mesothelioma is a horrific disease with symptoms of pain, facial and arm swelling, impaired breathing, hoarseness, coughing, weight loss, fevers, sweating, tiredness and more.

If you or a loved one suffers from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, or a family member has died from mesothelioma, consult a personal injury attorney with experience in complex asbestos litigation to understand your legal options for recovery.

With offices in California, Oregon, Washington and Utah, lawyers at the asbestos law firm of Brayton Purcell, L.L.P., represent asbestos victims across the country.

Keywords: bevacizumab, chemotherapy, treatment, mesothelioma, lungs, study, ASCO, Avastin, asbestos, drug, cancer, death, IFCT, lining, fibers