Mesothelioma treatment, especially chemotherapy, can be expensive. It often won’t impact prognosis, which adds to the frustrations.

Fortunately, low-dose gemcitabine seems to maintain survival while significantly decreasing costs for late-stage patients.

People with stage 3 or stage 4 mesothelioma often rely on chemotherapy to prolong their lives. The general survival stats show 12-18 months for this group of patients, with cisplatin and pemetrexed the standard chemotherapy drugs used.

A team at the Thoracic Oncology Unit of Instituto Nacional de Cancerología in Mexico City, Mexico, examined replacing pemetrexed with gemcitabine. It’s another mesothelioma chemotherapy drug, the generic name for Gemzar, doctors can pair with cisplatin.

The average survival time was approximately 16-17 months, indicating a valid use of gemcitabine in place of pemetrexed.

 

Survival Results From the Study

The team tested low-dose gemcitabine on 80 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The participants received 250 mg of gemcitabine infused continuously over six hours. This occurred once every 21-day cycle for up to 11 cycles (the average number of cycles was six).

Doctors also administered 35 mg of cisplatin on days 1 and 8 of each cycle. Patients could substitute cisplatin for carboplatin.

Progression-free survival was a median of 8 months, and overall survival was around 16 months. Around 40% of patients lived for at least 20 months, and 35% reached 30 months.

 

Cost Benefit of Low-Dose Gemcitabine With Cisplatin

Researchers indicated low-dose gemcitabine with cisplatin was the least-expensive option for patients. They compared it to:

  • Pemetrexed and cisplatin
  • Pemetrexed, cisplatin and bevacizumab
  • Short-infusion gemcitabine plus cisplatin

Low-dose gemcitabine was less than half as expensive as pemetrexed with cisplatin. It was 10 times less expensive than adding bevacizumab. It was a little more than half as expensive as the short-infusion option.

“This treatment scheme should be strongly considered for patients with unresectable MPM and limited economic resources,” the authors wrote.

Mesothelioma treatment costs are a burden for many, so any news of reducing the expenses is good. If you’re seeking state-of-the-art treatment from a cancer center, contact our patient advocate team. They’ll help you find financial resources. Email Karen Ritter, our registered nurse, at karen@mesotheliomaguide.com.

    Sources & Author

    • Efficacy, Safety, and Cost-Minimization Analysis of Continuous Infusion of Low-Dose Gemcitabine Plus Cisplatin in Patients With Unresectable Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Frontiers in Oncology. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095245/. Accessed: 05/24/2021.
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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.

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    Sources & Author

Picture of Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.