• Standard Chemotherapy Regimen for Pleural Mesothelioma May Add Bevacizumab
  • June 24, 2015 | Authors: Peter A. Kraus; Troyce G. Wolf
  • Law Firm: Waters & Kraus, LLP - Dallas Office
  • Malignant pleural mesothelioma may soon be getting a new standard of care. Bevacizumab may be added to the current standard chemotherapy regimen of pemetrexed and cisplatin. According to Dr. Gerald Zalcman, who recently presented a paper at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, bevacizumab offers patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma longer survival rates with acceptable side effects.

    Manufactured by Genentech, Inc., bevacizumab’s brand name is Avastin. While other chemotherapy drugs attack cancer cells, bevacizumab works by preventing the formation of new blood vessels. The drug restricts the flow of oxygen and nutrients that cancer cells rely on to divide and spread.

    The FDA first approved bevacizumab in 2004 for metastatic colon cancer. It is also used for other colorectal cancers and lung cancers.

    Bevacizumab Significantly Increases Mesothelioma Patients’ Survival Rate, Doctors Report

    The news about bevacizumab follows results from a phase III clinical trial conducted between 2008 and 2014. The trial involved 448 patients, half of whom were given just the standard chemotherapy combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin and half of whom were given bevacizumab in addition.

    The median survival time for mesothelioma patients who received bevacizumab was 18.6 months. For patients who did not, it was 16.1 months. The standard chemotherapy regimen for mesothelioma has been the same since 2003. In that time, mesothelioma survival times have not significantly increased — until the recent introduction of bevacizumab.

    Although bevacizumab significantly increased patients’ side effects, they were still manageable.

    The biggest challenge with bevacizumab may be its cost — reportedly estimated at $8,000 to $10,000 a month.