Two New Treatments for Malignant Mesothelioma-Related Asbestos Disease
Two major cancer congresses this year, ASCO 2015 and ECC 2015, presented important developments for malignant mesothelioma. The second of these was the demonstration that immunotherapy could also be effective in the treatment of mesothelioma treatment, in which patients were offered new hope with a prolonged life span of standard treatment with bevacizumab.
Malignant mesothelioma, or the most common cancer of the lung membrane in an expression that all of us can more easily understand, is one of the rare but important health problems. Mesothelioma is a sneaky-onset tumor that can originate in the lung gyrus, the heart gyrus, the abdominal gland and the testis. Malignant mesothelioma is first thought to be cancer of the lung membrane because it spreads to the lungs (pleura) at a rate of 80%. The main cause of this disease is exposure to asbestos. However, in western societies, the virus simian 40 is also known to cause this disease.
Malignant mesothelioma is common in men in countries with occupational asbestos exposure, while in countries like our country, the rate of occurrence of environmental asbestos is equal in men and women. Occupational asbestos-related mesothelioma is most commonly seen in ages 50-60. The time between asbestosis and mesothelioma is around 20-40 years. Due to the development of this disease on the basis of long-term development and transformation, when the disease is found, it is mostly in the advanced stage, that is, in an inoperable phase. In these patients, malignant mesothelioma can occur coincidentally in the collection of fluid between the lung membranes (pleural effusion), thickening of the membrane, and some complaints of respiration or other pulmonary film. Often there is a tendency for the diagnosis to be delayed due to the diagnosis of the complaints.
If the malignant mesothelioma can not be caught in the early stage, that is, if the surgical margin has been exceeded, the success rate of the treatments for this disease is low. When we look at the last 30 years, only two new chemotherapy agents have been added to conventional chemotherapy drugs. One of them was Gemcitabine before 2000, the other was a drug called Pemetreksed after 2000 years. Despite significant progress in targeted therapies over the past 15 years, the use of targeted therapies in malignant mesothelioma has been extremely inadequate.
We witnessed the development of hundreds of smiles for the treatment of mesothelioma in this year’s two major cancer congresses. Bevasizumab, an ASCO 2015 event held in June this year, was about the success of a targeted drug with mesothelioma treatment. Avestin in America and Europe, Bevasizumab active substance known as Altuzan in our country previously changed lives in diseases such as brain tumor, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, especially large bowel cancer. This drug works by destroying the vascular structure of the tumors. The addition of Bevasizumab to the cisplatin-pemetrexed combination, known as the best treatment regimen in the mesothelium, both increased the duration of response obtained from the treatment and also positively
contributed to the life span.
Another promising study in the treatment of mesothelioma is about the efficacy of immunotherapies in mesothelioma treatment, presented in preliminary results at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna, September 2015. This study suggests that immunotherapies may be effective in this cancer type, even if the number of participating patients is small.
As a result, we anticipate that Bevasizumab will receive approval in our country in the near future and we will be able to use this medicine as a plus contribution to our oncologists in this difficult cancer type. We also monitor immunotherapy close to this area. We now see that immunotherapy works for almost every type of lung cancer. We hope that immunotherapy studies will work well in mesothelioma and that your disease will be beneficial in the kind of cancer that can be extremely difficult.