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Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 03/07/2014

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Recurrent Malignant Mesothelioma

Current Clinical Trials

Treatment of patients with recurrent mesothelioma usually utilizes procedures and/or agents not previously employed in the initial treatment attempt. No standard treatment approaches have been proven to improve survival or control symptoms for a prolonged period of time. These patients should be considered candidates for phase I and II clinical trials evaluating new biologicals, chemotherapeutic agents, or physical approaches.[1-6] Patients with recurrent mesothelioma who have not received prior chemotherapy are candidates for first-line chemotherapy with cisplatin pemetrexed or cisplatin raltitrexed. (Refer to the Advanced Malignant Mesothelioma (Stages II, III, and IV) section of this summary.) However, patients with recurrent mesothelioma who receive surgery, or at least do not receive chemotherapy as part of the primary treatment and recur subsequently, are candidates for chemotherapy.

A large, randomized study compared pemetrexed to best supportive care in 243 patients who received one prior regimen of chemotherapy that did not include pemetrexed.[7][Level of evidence: 1iiA] No survival benefit was shown in patients who received pemetrexed, although the progression-free survival rate, time-to-progression, and the response rates favored the pemetrexed arm.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent malignant mesothelioma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

  1. Rusch V, Saltz L, Venkatraman E, et al.: A phase II trial of pleurectomy/decortication followed by intrapleural and systemic chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma. J Clin Oncol 12 (6): 1156-63, 1994.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  2. Markman M, Kelsen D: Efficacy of cisplatin-based intraperitoneal chemotherapy as treatment of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 118 (7): 547-50, 1992.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  3. Zucali PA, Ceresoli GL, Garassino I, et al.: Gemcitabine and vinorelbine in pemetrexed-pretreated patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Cancer 112 (7): 1555-61, 2008.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  4. Boutin C, Viallat JR, Van Zandwijk N, et al.: Activity of intrapleural recombinant gamma-interferon in malignant mesothelioma. Cancer 67 (8): 2033-7, 1991.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  5. Ong ST, Vogelzang NJ: Chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma. A review. J Clin Oncol 14 (3): 1007-17, 1996.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  6. Gregorc V, Zucali PA, Santoro A, et al.: Phase II study of asparagine-glycine-arginine-human tumor necrosis factor alpha, a selective vascular targeting agent, in previously treated patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. J Clin Oncol 28 (15): 2604-11, 2010.  [PUBMED Abstract]

  7. Jassem J, Ramlau R, Santoro A, et al.: Phase III trial of pemetrexed plus best supportive care compared with best supportive care in previously treated patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma. J Clin Oncol 26 (10): 1698-704, 2008.  [PUBMED Abstract]