A recent trial has been exploring a new approach to managing malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. This ongoing trial has been investigating a therapeutic treatment involving the drug alisertib, which inhibits a protein called aurora kinase.

anne tsao
Head of this trial is Dr. Anne S. Tsao. She is the director of
the mesothelioma and thoracic chemo-radiation programs
at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.

Exploring Aurora Kinase

Aurora kinase is a protein that is essential for cell division to occur. In cell division, cells divide and create new cells.

When cells divide uncontrollably, tumor growth can occur. Traces of aurora kinase have been found in genes that are associated with tumor progression.

Investigating A New Inhibitor

In this clinical trial, researchers hope to discover not only the safety of the drug alisertib, but they hope to find that it is successful in blocking aurora kinase. Researchers believe that this will help control a patient’s mesothelioma.

At the moment, alisertib is only being used for research purposes and is being reviewed by the FDA. However, researchers believe that this drug may help kill cancerous cells.

What to Expect

  • 1


    During the trial, patients will be asked to take alisertib in the form of a pill. The pill will be taken twice daily for one week.

  • 2


    After the completion of a week’s treatment, there will be a two-week treatment-free break for the patient.

  • 3


    This process of the trial will repeat itself to fulfill a 21-day study cycle over a four-month timespan.

If a doctor believes that a patient is in good standing and the trial is having a positive effect on them, they will remain taking alisertib and continue the trial’s treatment cycle. However, if a doctor doesn’t feel like it is safe or in the best interest of the patient, the patient will not be able to continue the trial.

Side Effects of Alisertib

So far, the drug alisertib has been highly tolerable by participants in the trial. However, many participants have had similar side effects that would occur if they were receiving chemotherapy.

Some of the participants have experienced

  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores or blisters
  • Loss of hair
  • Anemia
  • Anorexia

Doctors rate side effects using a scale from grade 1 to grade 4. Grade 1 side effects are the mildest complications. So far in this study, most reported side effects have been grade 1.

Successful Signs of Disease Control

It has been documented that several participants in this clinical trial are responding well to treatment and researchers anticipate their success. Many of these participants have remained in the trial after the four-month endpoint.

Researchers have been seeing signs of disease control in patients taking alisertib.

Due to trial participants exhibiting such a great response to this drug, Dr. Tsao plans to continue the trial.

Get Connected to This Trial

If you are a mesothelioma patient and you’re interested in participating in this clinical trial, it is always best to consult with your doctor and to speak with your loved ones before making a final decision. You can also contact Mesothelioma Guide for further details by calling 1-888-385-2024.

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    Sources & Author

  1. Phase II Trial of Alisertib (MLN8237) in Salvage Malignant Mesothelioma. ClinicalTrials.gov. Retrieved from: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02293005. Accessed: 08/15/16.
  2. The cellular geography of Aurora kinases. nature.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/nrm/journal/v4/n11/full/nrm1245.html. Accessed: 08/15/16.
  3. Cell proliferation. nature.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/subjects/cell-proliferation. Accessed: 08/15/16.
  4. Mesothelioma: Current Best Practices and Promising Therapies. clinicaloptions.com. Retrieved from: http://www.clinicaloptions.com/Oncology/Treatment%20Updates/Mesothelioma%202016/Module/Mesothelioma/Pages/Page%204.aspx#ea94f260-e61f-42f5-9d78-83d5d2cf041a. Accessed: 08/15/16.
  5. The Accordion Severity Grading System of Surgical Complications. medscape.com. Retrieved from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/707576_4. Accessed: 08/15/16.
  6. Aurka aurora kinase A [ Homo sapiens (human) ] Gene ID: 6790. NIH.gov. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gene/6790. Accessed: 08/15/16.
  7. Building Blocks of Life. ASU School of Life Sciences. Retrieved from: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/content/cell-division. Accessed: 08/15/16.
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About the Writer, Nicole Godfrey

Nicole Godfrey is the Senior Content Writer for Mesothelioma Guide. She writes and edits pages to make sure that mesothelioma patients and their families receive the most current and significant information about mesothelioma.