A recently published study from the Netherlands appears to indicate that a combination of a pair of immunotherapy drugs can help improve the prognosis of mesothelioma patients with tumors that are not able to be removed through surgery. The experiment, named checkmate 743, compared the use of first-line nivolumab and ipilimumab versus platinum-based chemotherapy in a group of over 600 mesothelioma cancer patients, and showed significant tumor shrinkage for a large portion of the participants who were given the two-drug combination.
Conducted by The Netherlands Cancer Institute and The University of Leiden, in Amsterdam, the study showed a two year survival rate in 41% of the 303 participants given the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab, contrasted with a 27% survival rate of the 302 patients undergoing platinum-based chemotherapy. For many decades, chemotherapy has been the standard of care for mesothelioma patients diagnosed with tumors that cannot be operated on or otherwise surgically removed.
“CheckMate 743 met its primary endpoint of statistically improved OS with nivolumab + ipilimumab vs standard of care chemotherapy in first-line treatment of patients with mesothelioma,” said Paul Baas, M.D., who presented the study’s findings at The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer conference. “These clinically meaningful data represent the first positive phase 3 trial of immunotherapy in first-line MPM and should be considered as a new standard of care.”
While the results of the trial are promising, the combination-drug experiment represents the phase 3 portion of the study, meaning that researchers are still examining the side effects of the new treatment. The study showed that about 30% of those in the experiment did experience side effects, with 15% of those being in the two-drug combination group.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the thin linings of tissue surrounding the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. The disease has a latency period of anywhere from 20 to 50 years, which means the cancer has had decades to progress before a diagnosis is eventually made. Often by the time doctors discover the disease, patients are left with diminished treatment options as surgical intervention is not appropriate once the cancer spreads.
Mesothelioma is directly linked to exposure to asbestos, which is a mineral once commonly used in a variety of industrial, commercial, and military applications because of the mineral’s heat resistant properties and ability to be shaped to fit various components. Unfortunately, those who regularly came in contact with asbestos as part of their careers did not know about the carcinogenic properties of the material, which put them at serious risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related health conditions.
Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer
If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment and other expenses.