Treatment of malignant mesothelioma has been extremely difficult. Not only is malignant mesothelioma resistant to most forms of chemotherapy drugs, but even when the mesothelioma tumor responds to the standard protocol of treatment with Alimta (Pemetrexed) and Cisplatin, the malignant mesothelioma eventually becomes resistant to these drugs as well. It is not known whether the malignant mesothelioma cells mutate to become resistant or whether there are portions of the mesothelioma tumor that were resistant to begin with, which then proliferate once the non-resistant tumor cells are killed by the Pemetrexed and Cisplatin combination.
In the search for a cure for malignant mesothelioma, researchers are looking at various other chemotherapy drugs that might be used as a secondary treatment protocol to follow the first-line treatment with Pemetrexed and Cisplatin. One such drug that is being considered is Oxaliplatin, which goes by the trade name Eloxatin. Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) was first developed by Dr. Yoshinori Kidani at Nagoya City University in 1976. Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) is an alkylating agent that works by causing damage to the DNA of cancer cells. Other alkylating agents that are used in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma are Carboplatin and Cisplatin.
Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) and Gemcitabine Tested as a Second-Line Treatment of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in a Clinical Trial
On December 18, 2008, the Journal of Occupational Medicine & Toxicology published the article entitled Gemcitabine Combined with Oxaliplatin in Pretreated Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: An Observational Study. This paper was based on a clinical trial of 29 patients who were diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma and had been previously treated with Cisplatin and Pemetrexed. These patients were given a combination of Gemcitabine and Oxaliplatin as a second-line treatment for their malignant pleural mesothelioma. It was found that when at least three cycles of Gemcitabine and Oxaliplatin were given to these patients in this clinical trial, 6.9% obtained partial remission and another 37.9% achieved stable disease. This amounted to a malignant pleural mesothelioma control rate of 44.8%. Just as important, the patients tolerated the treatment well with no significant toxicities or side effects reported in any of the patients. This drug combination provides great hope and promise in mesothelioma treatment.
New Clinical Trial Using Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) and Bortezomib (Velcade) in Patients with Malignant Pleural Or Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Columbia University opened a new clinical trial that began recruiting patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma or peritoneal mesothelioma in October 2009 that will use Bortezomib (Velcade) and Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin) for treatment. To be included in this clinical trial, patients must have received only one prior form of chemotherapy. Patients who received a combination of Pemetrexed plus Cisplatin or Pemetrexed plus Carboplatin will qualify for this clinical trial.