Italian Study Shows Drug Combo Can Help Elderly Mesothelioma Sufferers

A research team in Italy has found that a combination of Alimta® (pemetrexed) and Paraplatin® (carboplatin) is an effective palliative chemotherapy regime for elderly mesothelioma patients. The study appears in the June issue of the British Journal of Cancer. Malignant mesothelioma can take years or even decades to develop. Many mesothelioma patients were exposed to asbestos occupationally as long as 50 years before developing any symptoms of the disease. For this reason, some mesothelioma patients are elderly by the time they are diagnosed with mesothelioma. The study evaluated the use of a combination of Alimta and Paraplatin in 178 patients suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The average patient was aged 65 years, and 48 members of the study group were 70 or older. More of the elderly patients suffered from hematological toxicities. The mesothelioma disease progress was controlled in 60% of the older group, versus 67% of the younger group, with a time to disease progression averaging 7.2 months in the older group and 7.5 months in the younger. Median survival time was 10.7 months for the older group, 13.9 months for the younger group. The authors’ conclusion was that this treatment regimen was effective in older patients, and that an Alimta/Paraplatin regimen is an effective palliative care system for older patients.