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Chemotherapy Mesothelioma: How Important is this Treatment?







Chemotherapy Mesothelioma
Chemotherapy is one of the most commonly used treatments for cancer. The standard first-line chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma is pemetrexed (Alimta®) and Cisplatin. Some recent research shows that combining these drugs with bevacizumab (Avastin) can improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy in mesothelioma.

Chemotherapy (literally "chemical therapy") is the use of certain drugs to kill cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying. A number of different chemotherapy drugs are available to treat mesothelioma, although some of these drugs have proven to be more successful than others.

Lets See deeper about Chemotherapy Mesothelioma.


How Chemotherapy Treats Mesothelioma
Chemotherapy can be used to treat mesothelioma patients in two ways. One or both of these methods can be used in conjunction with surgery and / or radiation, depending on the treatment plan developed by doctors and patients.

Systemic chemotherapy
Chemotherapy can be given intravenously or as a pill. Then it moves throughout the bloodstream and reaches the whole body. Systemic chemotherapy brings the most side effects because in addition to killing cancer cells, chemotherapy also kills other fast-growing cells such as hair and blood cells.

Intraoperative chemotherapy
In some cases, chemotherapy can be given directly to the area where the tumor is formed, often with fewer side effects than systemic chemotherapy. Intrapleural chemotherapy and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) have become more popular in recent years, with remarkable results.

First and Second Pathway Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy treatments are often discussed as first and second line (or even third line) treatments. This refers to chemotherapy treatments given first, second, third, and so on, based on their effectiveness.

The most common first-line treatment for mesothelioma is a combination - often called a "cocktail" - from pemetrexed and platinum-based drugs such as cisplatin or carboplatin. This combination has proven to be most effective in treating mesothelioma, and therefore, is usually given first.

If first-line treatment is unsuccessful, second-line treatment can be tried. There is currently no consensus in the medical community about the best second-line treatment for mesothelioma. Doctors will often make the best decisions about which drugs best treat the disease based on the patient's specific circumstances.






Mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs
A number of different chemotherapy drugs can be used to treat mesothelioma. The recommended chemotherapy drugs will vary with each patient. Oncologists choose drugs that they believe are most beneficial to patients while also considering side effects and other important problems.

1. Pemetrexed (Alimta®)
Pemetrexed is the most common chemotherapy drug used to treat mesothelioma, often given with cisplatin. This is an injected drug, and patients will often be given corticosteroids and vitamin B9 (folic acid) and B12 supplements that are prescribed to prevent harmful side effects.

2. Cisplatin
Cisplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapy drug given by infusion. Along with pemetrexed, it is one of the most common mesothelioma drugs. In many cases, doctors will treat mesothelioma patients with cisplatin for tumors that cannot be operated on (ie when surgery is not an option).

3. Carboplatin
Other drugs based on platinum, carboplatin are derived from cisplatin in the 1980s. Although it usually has fewer and lighter side effects than cisplatin, it can also inhibit blood cell production, which leads to the possibility of increased fatigue and infection.

4. Gemcitabine (Gemzar)
Usually given in combination with carboplatin, gemcitabine is used to treat lung, bladder and ovarian cancers. In clinical trials, it has been proven to be a chemotherapy treatment that is relatively effective for mesothelioma, and is often used as a second-line treatment.

5. Ranpirnase (Onconase)
The orphan drug status given by the FDA in 2007, ranpirnase is an enzyme that has been shown in clinical trials to effectively kill mesothelioma cells by breaking their RNA. This is unique because it does this without affecting healthy cells, which greatly reduces the potential for side effects of chemotherapy.

6. Vinorelbine (Navelbine)
Mainly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), vinorelbine has also been shown to be somewhat effective against mesothelioma. It works by triggering apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells.

Read full Side Effect of Chemotherapy Mesothelioma.

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