Mesothelioma patients see positive results from secondary chemotherapy


Published on 08 June 2021

While the primary goal of mesothelioma researchers is to identify a cure for the rare and deadly cancer, they view any incremental progress as positive. This week, cancer researchers attending ASCO’s virtual meeting heard news that British scientists had achieved superior progression-free survival in patients already treated with standard chemotherapy when they combined a secondary chemotherapy drug called vinorelbine with active supportive care.

Specialized commissioning – what does it mean and how is PBL involved?  - Public health issues

Researchers hear news of superior progression-free survival in mesothelioma patients

The good news on the latest mesothelioma research was presented at the ASCO virtual meeting by Dean A. Fennell, FRCP, PhD, Chair of Thoracic Medical Oncology at the University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in the UK. He reported that in a phase 2 study, vinorelbine had shown superior progression-free survival for patients who had relapsed after treatment with pemetrexed and cisplatin.

“All patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma eventually relapse after standard chemotherapy with pemetrexed and cisplatin. However, there is no standard treatment option in this patient setting,” he explained. “Vinorelbine shows useful clinical activity, but has not been formally evaluated in a randomized clinical trial, despite its widespread off-label use worldwide.”

154 patients with pleural mesothelioma enrolled in study

The phase 2 study included 154 patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma and treated between May 2016 and October 2018. Patients were randomly assigned to either active supportive care alone or active supportive care in combination with regular dosing of vinorelbine after their disease had worsened following first-line chemotherapy treatment. The results showed that the median progression-free survival for those treated with vinorelbine was 4.2 months, compared with 2.8 months for those who did not receive the treatment. According to Fennell, the team concluded that “Vinorelbine is a safe and effective treatment and should be considered as a treatment option for patients with relapsing mesothelioma.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and you need information about treatment options, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Written by Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer
Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the lead writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes knowledge is power and is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victim stories.

Read more about and contact Terri

This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar