A Promising New Treatment for Mesothelioma

By Robert Dillard - Last Updated: June 17, 2020

A new treatment for advanced mesothelioma appears safe and effective and may improvement quality of life, according to research presented during a virtual session of the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting on June 14.  

The findings showed that transarterial chemoperfusion treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) causes minimal side effects and exhibits promising results for extending the lives of patients who have limited or no remaining treatment options. “MPM is a devastating cancer of the pleura, the membranes surrounding the lungs, that is very difficult to treat,” said Bela Kis, MD, PhD, the principal investigator on the study and an interventional radiologist at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa in a press release about the study. “The typical survival rate of patients with stage 3 and 4 MPM is around 12 months from diagnosis; but with this new treatment, we are hoping we might be able to extend patients’ lives beyond that–giving them more time with friends and family.” 

Researchers recruited 27 patients with MPM were enrolled in the Phase II clinical trial and underwent chemoperfusion treatment. The population of interest all had received prior chemotherapy, many of whom received multiple lines of chemotherapy. Four of the patients had prior radiation therapy and three patients had pleurectomy. All continued to have disease progression before enrollment. Subsequently, interventional radiologists injected one-third of the chemotherapy cocktail of cisplatin, methotrexate, and gemcitabine directly into the internal mammary artery that supplies the pleura. The other two-thirds of the drugs are injected into the descending aorta, which reaches the intercostal vessels that also supply the pleura.  


According to interim results70.3% disease control rate and median overall survival rate of 8.5 months from the start of the chemoperfusion treatment. The researchers noted that the treatment was well-tolerated by patients with a major complication rate of less than 2%. Most side effects were relatively minor and included mild nausea and chest pain. 

“We were pleasantly surprised to find that this treatment doesn’t come with the same side effects of traditional intravenous chemotherapy,” said Dr. Kis. “To see these promising results with so few side effects means we are able to make a positive impact on quality of life for these patients.”