Mesothelioma chemotherapy is an important treatment option for patients with this aggressive cancer. Learn about the different types of chemotherapy, how they work and their success rates. We also discuss the potential side effects of treatment and how to manage them.
Table of Contents
Chemotherapy is one of the three traditional treatments for mesothelioma, along with surgery and radiation. It is often used as part of a multimodal treatment plan.
- Mesothelioma Chemotherapy is used to treat most cases of mesothelioma.
- The most common combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin is used to treat mesothelioma.
- Mesothelioma Chemotherapy can have several side effects.
- Mesothelioma Chemotherapy can extend life expectancy by an average of between 12 and 16 months.
Chemotherapy is a standard mesothelioma treatment, recommended to patients with all types of rare cancers. While chemotherapy cannot cure mesothelioma and is usually associated with several unpleasant side effects, it can kill cancer cells, reducing symptoms and improving quality of life, as wellLifespan can potentially be extended Chemotherapy can be used as a therapy on its own, or applied in combination with surgery and/or radiation therapy.
Success Rate Given Mesothelioma Chemotherapy
Although chemotherapy is considered the standard of care in most mesothelioma cases, patients have shown mixed results.One treatment study found that only about 19% of patients with pleural mesothelioma treated with chemotherapy alone were alive two years after diagnosis. Five years later, a mere 4% of these patients were still alive. The study found that patients who underwent cytoreductive surgery, which is typically a part of a multimodal approach, achieved significantly better survival rates than chemotherapy itself, at approximately 40%. two years and 10% – 12% survive five years
Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma, however, have shown greater success with a specific type of chemotherapy for mesothelioma combined with surgery. Cytoreductive surgery followed by hot chemotherapy wash, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy or HIPEC, in the abdominal cavity has shown 5-year survival rates of up to 67% for patients in whom surgery and HIPEC are not an option, used for pleural mesothelioma Chemotherapy combinations may be an option, showing an average survival of 12 – 27 months
It is important to keep in mind that the success and effectiveness of chemotherapy can vary greatly between patients due to many factors, such as cell type or the overall health of the patient. The success of mesothelioma chemotherapy will also vary depending on the type of chemotherapy drugs and how the chemotherapy is applied.
How Does Chemotherapy Treat Mesothelioma?
In general, chemotherapy can be used therapeutically to kill cancer cells or applied palliatively to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. When applied therapeutically, the main goal of chemotherapy is to attack and kill rapidly dividing cancer cells. Unfortunately, it can also kill other fast-growing cells, resulting in some side effects such as hair loss. Chemotherapy can also be used to shrink tumors, helping to reduce common symptoms. Unlike surgery and radiation, which target a specific area, chemotherapy destroys cells that are spread throughout the body.
Chemotherapy drugs are administered in two ways, depending on the type and stage of mesothelioma, the overall health of the patient and the type of drug(s) being used.
How chemotherapeutic drugs are administered
It Is Systemic
Drugs are taken into the bloodstream after being swallowed as a pill or injected into a vein (through an IV). Chemotherapeutic drugs are generally only available in pill form during clinical trials.
The drugs are applied directly to the tumor site, where they saturate the cancerous area and kill the remaining cells after surgery. Intraoperative chemotherapy drugs are heated to approximately 100ºF – 105ºF (38ºC – 41ºC) before application.
Systemic chemotherapy may be recommended for all types of mesothelioma. Intraoperative chemotherapy, however, is more limited. Dr. Player may use intrapleural chemotherapy or intraperitoneal chemotherapy for mesothelioma to treat peritoneal mesothelioma, but it is not recommended for pericardial mesothelioma.
Chemotherapy can be used as a monotherapy, or more frequently, given in combination with surgery or radiation (multimodal therapy) to improve efficacy and extend survival. Treatment may also be administered at various points in the patient’s treatment plan.
Multimodal Treatment For Chemotherapy
Drugs are given before surgery to shrink the tumor, making it easier to remove the tumor.
Chemotherapy drugs are administered during surgery so that doctors can increase the dose while minimizing side effects.
After surgery, medications are given to kill the remaining microscopic cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.
What To Expect During Chemotherapy Treatment
Chemotherapy preparation will vary depending on the types of drugs you are receiving and how they are being administered. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how best to prepare, but there are some general things to keep in mind.
How To Prepare For Chemotherapy
To make sure your body is ready to handle the chemotherapy, you will likely go through a series of blood tests to check kidney, liver and heart function. Things like treatment time, type of medication or dosage can be adjusted based on test results.
Go Dentist Cole
Your doctor may direct you to see your dentist to rule out any existing infections, given that chemotherapy can lower your body’s ability to fight off infections.
Arrange Appointment Details
Some patients may receive chemotherapy outside of their usual doctor office. It is important to make detailed notes about when and where you will be treated. You should also arrange for a friend or loved one to accompany you to the appointment, especially since you may not know exactly how your body will react.
Relax Eat Light
It’s probably best if you eat a light meal beforehand, in case your treatment makes you nauseous. Also, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and rest before your treatment.
Most patients will receive several courses of chemotherapy treatments, usually given once every three weeks or so. As treatment continues, your doctor and healthcare team will monitor dosage and side effects to see if the plan needs to be changed at all. Following completion of chemotherapy, to address any ongoing or late side effects, as well as to monitor how effective the treatment was and follow-up care if further treatment is needed B. will be equally important
Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Side Effects
Just as every case of mesothelioma cancer is unique, so are the side effects patients experience. Patients may experience the side effects of mesothelioma fromthe progression of cancer itself or as a result of treatments such as chemotherapy. Although chemotherapy for mesothelioma is a common treatment and is considered the standard of care for pleural mesothelioma, chemotherapy drugs can have harmful side effects.
Common Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Side Effects
- Hair Fall
- Decreased White Blood Cell Count
- Loss Of Appetite (Anorexia)
- Cachexia Da
- Mouth And Mouth Sores
- Low Platelet Count
- Tingling Hands
- Sleep Disorder
- Sexual And Reproductive Issues
Some side effects of these mesothelioma chemotherapy treatments can be more serious than others, and not all of these symptoms can be cured. A common side effect, “chemo brain” is also one of the most serious side effects. Chemo brain refers to patients having problems with memory and brain function after therapy, which can include forgetting even common words, difficulty concentrating and multitasking, and taking longer to complete simple tasks of chemo brain There is no cure, but can be worked on with some lifestyle changes such as keeping a daily planner, sticking to completing one task at a time and working on brain exercises like crossword puzzles.
It is important to talk to your doctor about any side effects that may occur throughout treatment and beyond. Some common side effects of Mesothelioma chemotherapy, such as chemo brain and depression, can also be considered late or long-term side effects, meaning they can develop well after treatment ends and affect the patient for months or years can cause some of these side effects to be more serious complications or affect the efficacy of chemotherapy if left untreated.
Managing The Side Effects
Depending on an individual’s treatment plan and side effects experienced, your doctor may recommend a variety of complementary treatments or lifestyle changes to alleviate symptoms. For example, dietary changes can help with side effects like nausea and vomiting, as well as muscle loss and fatigue.
Some treatments and mesothelioma side effects may require additional medications and therapies. Anorexia (loss of appetite) and cachexia (severe weight and muscle loss) can be treated with drugs like medroxyprogesterone (MPA) to promote weight gain, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory to help prevent muscle loss Can also be treated with drugs Sleep disorders caused by chemotherapy or other treatments may also require short-term sleep medication.
For those who are experiencing side effects of chemotherapy, it is important that you talk to yourself about the side effects of chemotherapy, and not try to treat the issue on your own.
Chemotherapeutic Drugs For Mesothelioma
Treatment for mesothelioma typically involves a combination of two (or more) chemotherapy drugs. Currently, the most common combination of pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin is used to treat mesothelioma. For mesothelioma that cannot be operated on, bevacizumab (Avastin) is often prescribed in combination with the other two drugs.
Most Common Mesothelioma Chemotherapy Drugs
Pemetrexed (Alimta) A.
The first and only chemotherapy drug approved by the FDA for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Often used in combination with a platinum-based chemotherapeutic drug, such as cisplatin.
A platinum-based chemotherapy drug commonly used in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta). It has some of the most serious side effects of any chemo drug, but it can also be effective at killing mesothelioma cells.
Bevacizumab (Avastin) A.
An immunotherapy drug that inhibits the formation of new blood vessels. Bevacizumab is recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network in combination with pemetrexed and cisplatin for patients who cannot respond to bevacizumab.
Other Chemotherapy Drugs
Other drugs may be used depending on the type of mesothelioma and other factors. These include carboplatin, gemcitabine (Gemzar), doxorubicin (Adriamycin), paclitaxel (Taxol), onconase, navalbine, and cyclophosphamide.
Because each chemotherapy drug works slightly differently, your oncologist will advise which one is best suited to treating your disease. Your doctor will also provide guidance on the length and frequency of your mesothelioma chemotherapy treatments.
Researchers continue to experiment with new drugs and new combinations of chemotherapy drugs in hopes of finding the best drugs available to treat the disease and its symptoms.