Cancer is complex — there is no routine mesothelioma, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.
At the OSUCCC – James, our mesothelioma treatment team of experts includes internationally recognized oncologists, pulmonologists, surgeons, radiologists, geneticists, nutritionists and more.
Also on that team are mesothelioma researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Working together and across medical disciplines, this super subspecialized team develops individualized, highly targeted treatment plans that specifically target the molecular and biological makeup of your individual tumor.
As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–designated comprehensive cancer center, the OSUCCC — James also offers patients access to novel therapies that may not be available anywhere else in the United States. The James leads some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated clinical trials (click here to see availability of mesothelioma clinical trials).
Every person’s disease is different, with individually unique genes and molecules driving that disorder. At the OSUCCC – James, our mesothelioma specialists are world-renowned experts who focus who reach across medical disciplines to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.
There are many ways to treat mesothelioma. The OSUCCC – James team of experts determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific cancer and genetic makeup as well as its location and its stage. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments, including:
If malignant mesothelioma is found in the chest, the OSUCCC – James surgical oncology experts may use any of the following procedures:
- Wide Local Excision to remove the cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it.
- Pleurectomy and Decortication (P/D) to remove part of the covering of the lungs and chest lining and part of the outside surface of the lungs. This is the most commonly utilized procedure, and is usually done before or after chemotherapy.
- Extrapleural Pneumonectomy (EPP) to remove one lung and part of the lining of the chest, diaphragm and lining of the sac around the heart.
- Pleurodesis, which uses drugs to make a scar in the space between the pleura layers. Fluid is drained from the space using a catheter, then the drug is put into the space. The scarring stops fluid build-up in the pleural cavity.
Chemotherapy drugs stop cancer cell growth by either destroying the cells or stopping them from dividing and making new cells.
Chemotherapy drugs can be taken by mouth or injected into a vein, and they may be given over a period of months.
When the drugs enter the bloodstream, they can reach cancer cells throughout the body (called systemic chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy uses more than one anti-cancer drug. The most common chemotherapy is a combination of two drugs called carboplatin and pemetrexed, given by vein every 3 weeks.
How chemotherapy is given depends on the tumor make-up, type and stage.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation targeted directly at cancer cells to destroy those cells or keep them from growing.
How radiation therapy is given depends on the tumor make-up, type and stage. External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) is used to treat malignant mesothelioma and may also be used as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.
A patient with mesothelioma may receive radiation therapy before or after a surgery to remove tissue or a tumor. Radiation can shrink a tumor to make surgery more successful, and it is often delivered in a manner to prevent damage to surrounding, healthy tissue. In addition, radiation can be delivered to the pleural lining to prevent mesothelioma from returning in the chest cavity.
The OSUCCC – James also offers other leading-edge radiation treatments, including imaging-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS/SBRT) and using a Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator.
Targeted therapies are drugs that target and attack cancer cells without destroying healthy surrounding cells. These drugs sometimes have less severe side effects than other treatments, including standard chemotherapy drugs delivered alone. And sometimes, by delivering these drugs in combination with chemotherapy, targeted therapies interrupt certain proteins and receptors to stop cancer cells from growing.
One type of targeted therapy, called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, blocks specific signals that tumors need to grow and are currently under study for mesothelioma treatment.
Monoclonal antibody therapy, which is given by infusion, is another type of targeted therapy sometimes used to treat mesothelioma. These antibodies (proteins) attach to the substances on the cancer cell and can destroy them, block their growth or keep them from spreading.
Bevacizumab is a monoclonal antibody used to treat advanced malignant mesothelioma. It binds to a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This may prevent new blood vessel growth that tumors need to grow.
Immunotherapy, also called biotherapy or biologic therapy, harnesses the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer cells and prevent cancer from spreading or coming back.
Substances that are either made by the body or made in a laboratory are used to boost, direct or restore the body’s natural defenses against cancer, and immunotherapy is currently under clinical research at the OSUCCC – James.
(Source: National Cancer Institute)
If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a mesothelioma specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.