Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Leads Phase II Pleural Mesothelioma Clinical Trial

Dec 21, 2019 | Chemotherapy, Lung Cancer, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Mesothelioma, Radiation, Surgery

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Leads Phase II Pleural Mesothelioma Clinical Trial

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is conducting a Phase 2 pleural mesothelioma clinical trial using lung-sparing surgery along with chemotherapy and radiation and is available to a wide range of patients—from Stage 1 to Stage 2 of the rare cancer. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the three primary treatments for pleural mesothelioma, and in this study, the site will use surgery first.

The multi-center study is recruiting patients from multiple locations, including Moffit Cancer Center (Tampa, FL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA), Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) and MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX).

The Study Focus: Mesothelioma Surgery

This procedure involves the removal of body parts where the tumors formed or spread, reports Mesothelioma Guide. Such areas may include the pleura (where pleural mesothelioma originates), diaphragm, pericardium, and affected lung.

The trial utilizes a pleurectomy with decortication. This surgery removes the pleura and possibly the diaphragm and pericardium but spares the lung.

Adjuvant Treatment

Chemotherapy for this trial is adjuvant chemotherapy since it is administered after the main treatment—the surgery above. Hence as this adjuvant stage, the trial involves mesothelioma chemotherapy—administered between four and eight weeks following the surgery. This follow on phase involves an intense amount of activity. Each patient will receive two chemotherapy drugs intravenously and scheduled in four sessions each 21 days apart. During each session, the patient will receive pemetrexed for 10 minutes and either cisplatin for 60 minutes or carboplatin for 30 minutes.

Microscopic Tumors Require Help

Because mesothelioma tumors are microscopic and often invisible to the naked eye, surgeons can’t remove all of the disease. Adjuvant attacks these remnant cells. Moreover, the pleurectomy with decortication can’t remove the lung, and adjuvant chemotherapy is introduced to address any tumors that may have spread in this organ.

Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy

Four to eight weeks post-chemotherapy application, medical experts will utilize high-energy beams to target the remaining diseased cells. Known as intensity-modulated radiation therapy, patients will undergo 28 sessions over a six week period.

Although mesothelioma radiation could be employed before or after chemotherapy, the study team’s strategy places this as the last step to help kill any remaining mesothelioma cells. They hope, at the least, to shrink the tumors sufficiently to where the disease is contained. If the investigative team can get the disease to a “dormant” phase, the patient can live for years in this state.

Call to Action: Mesothelioma Guide is a useful resource for those (or loved ones) diagnosed with mesothelioma. They offer a patient navigator named Jenna Campagna, which is a great resource. She can be reached at jenna@mesotheliomaguide.org

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