The ultimate goal of mesothelioma research is to find a cure. That accomplishment could be years away, and the hope until then is to find a way to manage this cancer.
A few researchers might have a treatment with the potential to keep mesothelioma from growing and spreading.
A phase 2 trial involving tazemetostat was for people with a relapsed or stubborn pleural mesothelioma. Tazemetostat inhibits the gene “enhancer of zeste-homolog 2 (EZH2).” This gene is overexpressed in mesothelioma tumors and aids the cancer cells’ proliferation.
While the gene therapy didn’t lead to a complete disease response, it did help stop mesothelioma’s growth in many cases.
How Tazemetostat Works for Mesothelioma Treatment
EZH2 is connected to the loss of BAP1, which is another gene. BAP1 suppresses tumor activity, and its inactivation is one less defender against cancer.
The loss of BAP1 can lead to EZH2’s overexpression. Tazemetostat doesn’t solve the BAP1-loss problem, but it does block EZH2.
The study’s research team included well-known mesothelioma researcher Dr. Marjorie Zauderer. She is especially interested in studying BAP1 gene mutations in pleural mesothelioma.
There were 74 participants in the study. Of them, 70 (95%) were confirmed to be BAP1-deficient and thus likely had high levels of EZH2. A few of the notable data points in the results are below:
- Around 47% of patients had a controlled disease — meaning it hadn’t progressed — after 12 weeks.
- Two patients had a partial response, and 33 had a stable (stagnant) disease after 12 weeks.
- A total of 47 patients (64%) achieved some level of response thanks to tazemetostat.
- There were no tazemetostat-related deaths, and severe side effects were scarce.
The researchers were pleased with the results. They wrote that the disease control rate and number of stable disease cases “showed antitumor activity in patients with BAP1-deficient” mesothelioma tumors.
The current data support further clinical evaluation of (tazemetostat) in these patients,” the report concluded.
Hope for Emerging Mesothelioma Treatment Options
Gene therapy is one of many emerging methods that may find a mesothelioma cure. Others are immunotherapy, virotherapy and photodynamic therapy.
Our staff can help explain some of these treatment methods in more depth. We also can help you find cancer centers exploring these options in studies.
Additionally, if you’d like to find a surgeon or specialist for standard treatment, we can assist you. Email our patient advocate and registered nurse, Jenna Campagna, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more help.
Show Sources & Author
- Safety and efficacy of tazemetostat, an enhancer of zeste-homolog 2 inhibitor, in patients with relapsed or refractory malignant mesothelioma. Journal of Clinical Oncology. Retrieved from:
https://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/JCO.2020.38.15_suppl.9058. Accessed: 07/02/2020.