NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
July 5, 2005 • Volume 2 / Number 27 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Clinical TrialFeatured Clinical Trial

Chemotherapy and Biological Therapy for Advanced Mesothelioma

Name of the Trial
Phase II Randomized Study of Gemcitabine and Cisplatin with or without Bevacizumab in Patients with Malignant Mesothelioma (UCCRC-11046A). See the protocol summary at

Dr. Hedy Kindler Principal Investigator
Dr. Hedy Kindler, University of Chicago Cancer Research Center

Why Is This Trial Important?
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the lining of the lungs, the heart, or the abdomen (the pleura, pericardium, or peritoneum). If diagnosed at the earliest stage, mesothelioma can be cured by surgery and treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. However, advanced mesothelioma is usually inoperable and is rarely curable.

In this study, researchers are adding a biological agent called bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy to see if it can help delay the progression of mesothelioma in patients with advanced disease. Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the action of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In mesothelioma, VEGF may stimulate both tumor cell growth and the formation of tumor blood vessels.

"Bevacizumab has shown promise in several other types of cancer, and we hope that it will be particularly effective against mesothelioma because VEGF plays such a prominent role in the growth of this disease," said Dr. Kindler. "Additionally, bevacizumab works synergistically with chemotherapy, so combining these treatments may yield better results than either chemotherapy or biological therapy alone."

"Because mesothelioma is an orphan disease, there often isn't the incentive to pursue new therapies for it, so we are very pleased that NCI is supporting such a study," Dr. Kindler added.

Who Can Join This Trial?
Researchers seek to enroll 106 patients aged 18 and over with malignant mesothelioma that cannot be removed by surgery. See the list of eligibility criteria for this trial at

Where Is This Trial Taking Place?
Multiple study sites in the United States are recruiting patients for this trial. See the list of study sites at

Contact Information
See the list of study contacts at or call the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The call is toll free and completely confidential.

An archive of "Featured Clinical Trial" columns is available at