A new chemotherapy drug combination – Docetaxel plus Gemcitabine – showed "promising results" in treating mesothelioma, says new study
New chemotherapy treatment for mesothelioma: Docetaxel plus Gemcitabine.
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August 14, 2009 - A recent study performed at the Athens University School of Medicine in Greece reports that a new chemotherapy drug combination – gemcitabine plus docetaxel – offers “a promising first-line therapy for patients with mesothelioma cancer.”
According to the study, researchers enrolled 25 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Each received 80 mg/m of docetaxel and 1,000 mg/m of gemcitabine on days 1 and 14 of a 28-day cycle.
The new mesothelioma treatment was scheduled for a maximum of six cycles, or until the mesothelioma spread, or there was too much toxicity for the patients.
The reason for the study, according to the authors, was that this combination – gemcitabine plus docetaxel – has not been investigated in mesothelioma before.
Docetaxel plus Gemcitabine
A total of seven out of the 25 patients (28 percent) responded to treatment, which means that for these seven patients their tumors decreased in size.
In 14 patients (56 percent), the disease remained stable (did not grow or regress), while in four (16 percent) their cancers became worse. The overall survival ranged from 12.4-17.5 months with a median survival of 15 months.
Although these results were not too impressive, the authors concluded that: “the administration of gemcitabine and doctaxel appears to be a promising first-line therapy for patients with mesothelioma, as it is well tolerated and appears to improve survival.”
Docetaxel plus Gemcitabine
Docetaxel (marketed under the name Taxotere) is an anti-mitotic chemotherapy used mainly for the treatment of breast, ovarian, and non-small cell lung cancer. Gemcitabine (marketed as Gemzar) is used in various cancers including: non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, bladder cancer and breast cancer.
The standard chemotherapy treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma is cisplatin and pemetrexed. Another chemo regimen used in the United States and other countries is the combination of cisplatin and gemcitabine.
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