The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) just wrapped up its annual meeting, held May 29-June 2, 2015, in Chicago—and 1 specific announcement provided promising news for mesothelioma patients and their families. The presentation discussed findings from a study sponsored by The French Cooperative Thoracic Intergroup (IFCT) that just may change the current standard of care for mesothelioma treatment.

Experimenting with a Triplet-Drug Combination

An overview of the study was presented by Gérard Zalcman, MD, PhD, of Caen University Hospital in France during the Lung Cancer—Non-Small Cell Local-Regional/Small Cell/Other Thoracic Cancers Oral Abstract Session on May 30, 2015. The goal of the study was to determine if adding the “VEGF-specific angiogenesis inhibitor bevacizumab to standard chemotherapy would affect overall survival in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.”

The study was conducted from February 2008 to January 2014 at 73 centers in France. A total of 448 malignant pleural mesothelioma patients were enrolled. Participants were primarily male (75.4%) and the median age was 65.7 years old. About half received standard chemotherapy (pemetrexed and cisplatin), while the other half received bevacizumab plus standard chemotherapy.

Results of the Bevacizumab Study

Researchers and medical professionals were extremely pleased with the results of this study.

  • The median overall survival was 18.82 months for the bevacizumab group, versus 16.07 months for the standard chemotherapy group.
  • Median progression-free survival was 9.59 months for the bevacizumab group, versus 7.48 months for the standard chemotherapy group.

Dr. Zalcman explained, “The overall conclusion was that the addition of bevacizumab to pemetrexed and cisplatin led to longer survival with acceptable toxicity in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.”

Although many were thrilled with the way this study played out, it does not seem like the triplet-drug combination will necessarily be available to the public any time soon. Other medical professionals indicate that cost could play a major role in the release, as well as the fact that more research may need to be done with older patients and patients of varying races.