Two major mesothelioma clinical trials have failed to reach their goals, but several new promising trials have recently opened. AstraZeneca’s tremelimumab and Bayer’s anetumab ravtansine have both reported setbacks in recent weeks. Fortunately, there are still many more promising ongoing trials for mesothelioma patients.
2 Recent Mesothelioma Trial Setbacks
- 1Anetumab Ravtansine – Bayer
Anetumab ravtansine failed to delay disease progression in mesothelioma patients in a recent clinical trial. The trial was for patients whose disease had progressed after first-line treatment and needed a second-line option.
In the trial, patients received either anetumab ravtansine or a chemotherapy drug called vinorelbine. Neither Bayer nor its collaborators ImmunoGen and MorphoSys have released data from the trial about either drug.
Although this trial didn’t meet its goals, Bayer still has hope and is continuing to investigate the benefits of this drug in other cancers. Anetumab ravtansine may even be included in future mesothelioma trials. The National Cancer Institute may soon investigate its effectiveness when combined with Merck’s Keytruda.
- 2Tremelimumab – AstraZeneca
In a recent clinical trial, tremelimumab failed to improve overall survival in mesothelioma patients when compared with a placebo. This trial used tremelimumab as a second-line treatment to improve overall survival in pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients.
Patients in this trial either received tremelimumab or a placebo treatment through an IV. This was a double-blind study so neither the researchers nor the patients knew who was receiving a placebo or the treatment.
The median overall survival for the tremelimumab arm of the trial was 7.7 months. The placebo arm performed similarly with a median overall survival of 7.3 months. Despite similar performance, patients in the tremelimumab arm experienced more serious side effects. 65% of patients in the tremelimumab arm experienced serious side effects compared to 48% of patients in the placebo group.
New Trials Bring New Hope
Several new trials have opened recently and are now recruiting new patients. These clinical trials are testing the newest and most innovative treatment options for mesothelioma patients. Some of the newest mesothelioma trials are listed below.
CRS-207 + Keytruda
This trial is for: pleural mesothelioma patients who have not had success with previous treatments.
Both CRS-207 and Keytruda (pembrolizumab) have impressive reputations for treating mesothelioma. Researchers believe they may be able to work together to treat pleural mesothelioma.
- Keytruda is one of the better known cancer immunotherapies and has been FDA approved to treat several other cancers. In an ongoing study, Keytruda has reduced cancer size in 14 out of 25 pleural mesothelioma patients.
- CRS-207 is still experimental for all cancers but has had incredible results. In an ongoing trial, CRS-207 achieved disease control in 94% of pleural mesothelioma patients.
Atezolizumab + Bevacizumab
This trial is for: patients with rare solid tumors including pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma whose cancer is inoperable.
Atezolizumab and bevacizumab work in very different ways to treat cancer. Researchers hope that the combination of these two strategies will result in a quality cancer treatment.
- Atezolizumab works by blocking a protein called PD-L1. This protein allows cancer cells to hide from the immune system. By blocking PD-L1, atezolizumab gives the immune system the ability to fight the cancer cells.
- Bevacizumab can stop tumors from forming blood vessels. Tumors need these blood vessels to receive oxygen and nutrients. Bevacizumab can slow tumor growth and spread by preventing the tumor from creating blood vessels.
Adcetris for CD30+ Patients
This trial is for: patients with mesothelioma in any primary site and with any cell type who express the CD30 protein.
Patients in this trial will receive the investigational drug adcetris. This trial is to test the safety and efficacy of the drug.
- Adcetris works in two ways: as a targeted therapy and as a chemotherapy. As a targeted therapy, adcetris disrupts cancer cell division by targeting CD30. As a chemotherapy, adcetris attacks quickly replicating cells, including cancer cells.