Pemetrexed Shows Promise in Treating Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Data presented at the 14th Europe Cancer Conference demonstrated that the chemotherapy drug pemetrexed alone or in tandem with a platinum agent shows good overall response and disease control rates in patients with peritoneal mesothelioma.

According to an article in Doctors Guide, the study for which the data was reported included 109 patients with “a histologic or cytologic diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma that was not amenable to curative surgery and was treated with pemextrexed alone or in combination with a platinum agent.”

“Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare cancer, with a yearly incidence of about one or two cases per million in the U.S. and Europe, while the incidence of pleural mesothelioma is 3- to 30-fold higher in different countries, said study presenter Giacomo Carteni, MD, Director, Oncology Division, Cardarelli Hospital, Naples, Italy.

Dr. Carteni noted that few studies have been done specifically regarding the peritoneal type of mesothelioma so, historically, doctors treating peritoneal mesothelioma patients have had to rely on data gathered for trials featuring patients with pleural mesothelioma.

In the trial, pemetrexed 500 mg/m2 alone or in combination with cisplatin 75 mg/m2 or carboplatin AUC 5 was given on day 1 of each 21-day treatment cycle as part of this Expanded Access Program (EAP). All patients received standard supplementation with vitamin B12 and folic acid, and dexamethasone for prophylaxis.

Patients were treated until they developed progressive disease or unacceptable toxicity, or until the investigator or patient decided to halt treatment.

According to the article, pemetrexed and platinum combination was associated with a 20% or greater response rate and a 76% or greater disease control rate. Patients in the single-agent platinum group had a 12.5% overall response rate, a 50% disease control rate, and a 41.5% survival rate at 1 year.

“This is in line with their worse prognostic factors like higher median age, higher percent of patients who had undergone prior chemotherapy, and lower performance status at baseline,” Dr. Carteni said.

Results proved to be similar in a pemetrexed EAP conducted in the United States by drug manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company.

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