Most people with mesothelioma either don’t respond to first‑line chemotherapy or respond temporarily, only for the tumors to continue spreading after a brief halt.

Relapsed malignant mesothelioma usually leaves patients with few, or no, options.

Vinorelbine, an experimental chemotherapy medication for mesothelioma, seems to help in this common scenario.

Researchers from the United Kingdom tested vinorelbine as a second‑line chemotherapy after platinum‑based chemotherapy faltered. The phase 2 study tested vinorelbine against symptom‑ and pain‑management care in the final stages of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Vinorelbine, the generic name for navelbine, stopped the mesothelioma tumors in most cases for longer than palliative care.

If you’re interested in vinorelbine clinical trials or another experimental therapy, email our team. Our registered nurse, Karen Ritter, can help you connect with the top cancer centers hosting clinical studies. Email her at


Vinorelbine Improves Progression‑Free Survival

The study included 154 patients with relapsed malignant pleural mesothelioma. Of them, 103 received vinorelbine plus supportive care. The remaining received just supportive care.

The progression‑free survival for the vinorelbine group was 4.2 months, meaning the cancer didn’t get worse for that time period. The progression‑free survival for the “active supportive care” group was 2.8 months.

“All patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma eventually relapse following standard chemotherapy with pemetrexed and cisplatin,” said Dr. Dean Fennell, chair of thoracic medical oncology at University of Leicester and University Hospitals of Leicester.

He presented the study at the virtual annual American Society of Clinical Oncology conference, which may lead to American doctors and hospitals testing vinorelbine in the United States.

Patients received 60 mg of vinorelbine weekly (days 1, 8 and 15) during the first 21‑day cycle. It escalated to 80 mg in the second cycle.

Median overall survival didn’t change between the groups:

  • 9.3 months for vinorelbine
  • 9.1 months for supportive care

However, 3.1% of patients had a partial response to vinorelbine (meaning the therapy caused disease regression) compared to just 1.8% in the supportive care group. The duration of partial response was longer, too:

  • 7.2 months for vinorelbine
  • 4.2 months for supportive care

    Sources & Author

Devin Goldan image

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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