Researchers are investigating the effectiveness of combining immunotherapy with stereotactic body radiation therapy. This study predicts that the drug avelumab and SBRT may help combat pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.

Multimodal Therapy for Treating Mesothelioma

A clinical trial sponsored by the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is studying the use of the drug avelumab and stereotactic body radiation therapy for treating mesothelioma. This trial anticipates that it will recruit about 36 participants.

Treatment Involved

  • Target Icon
    Avelumab – is an immunotherapy drug. It works by blocking the protein PD-L1 that is expressed by tumor cells. PD-L1 binds with PD-1 and stops t-cells from attacking tumor cells. With PD-L1 inhibited, it allows antitumor cells to resume attacking cancer that’s inside a patient’s body.
  • Radiation Icon
    Radiation – this trial will be using a form of radiation called Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT). This type of radiation allows radiology oncologists to safely deliver high doses of radiation to a patient’s tumor directly. SBRT is thought to improve the cure rate of tumors better than standard radiation therapy.

Currently, this trial is recruiting in New Jersey and New York. It is expected to occur over a span of 3 years. Researchers plan that the study will conclude with a hopeful outcome in 2020.

Get Help Enrolling in This Trial

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The lack of treatment options for mesothelioma relative to those for other cancers make clinical trials an invaluable source of treatment. This clinical trial offers hope to pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients with a treatment plan that consists of immunotherapy and SBRT radiation.

Reasons to get involved in this trial include:
  • Receive proven life-extending treatment
  • SBRT radiation is believed to be more effective than standard radiation therapy
  • Dr. Rimmer, the lead investigator of the study, has years of experience treating mesothelioma patients

Treating Mesothelioma with Avelumab and Radiation

During the trial, both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients will participate in the receiving the FDA approved drug avelumab. Participants will also undergo SBRT.

Enrollees in the study will receive avelumab before they have SBRT treatment. Avelumab will be administered by an IV infusion every other week throughout the trial. After completing two doses of avelumab, patients will begin to experience short sessions of SBRT.

A typical SBRT session takes only 30 to 60 minutes. This form of radiation is usually completed over a span of 10 days. Many radiation oncologists have reported that their patients leave sessions free of pain and side effects.

Targeted Cancer Therapy: Is This Trial for You?

By using targeted cancer therapy, researchers will evaluate the safety of avelumab when combined with SBRT. They will also study the effect that radiation therapy can have on a patient’s immune system.

“It is thought that radiation treatment may create a form of ‘vaccine’ against cancer inside the body and immunotherapy may improve this effect. The combination of radiation treatment and immunotherapy may be more effective against cancer than either radiation or immunotherapy alone.” states the study.

To be a successful candidate in this clinical trial, there are some criteria that a participant must meet.

Patient inclusions:

  • Confirmed diagnosis of pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma
  • No plans to participate in surgical removal of disease
  • Participated in at least one round of first-line chemotherapy for mesothelioma

Patient exclusions:

  • Receiving other investigational agents within 4 weeks of first treatment
  • Previous participation in radiation therapy
  • Treatment with a monoclonal antibody within 4 weeks of entering the study
  • Participating in chemotherapy 3 weeks prior to study beginning

Image of Nurse Jenna.For more information about this study or any other recruiting clinical trials, please contact Mesothelioma Guide’s patient advocate Jenna Campagna. You can reach her at 888-385-2024 extension 102 or at You can even leave a message for Mesothelioma Guide via live chat now.

Meet the Lead Investigator

Head of the clinical trial is Dr. Andreas Rimner. Dr. Rimner is a radiation oncologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He sees nearly 400 patients a year that have been diagnosed with thoracic cancers, including malignant pleural mesothelioma.

“I work closely with a highly skilled team of experts from many areas — including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiologists, medical physicists, and radiation therapists — to determine the best treatment options for my patients,” said Dr. Rimner.