Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the mesothelium, the protective lining of many internal organs. It is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Treatment options for mesothelioma typically include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and emerging targeted therapies. Targeted therapies for mesothelioma aim to interfere with specific molecules and pathways involved in cancer growth and progression.
Here are some targeted therapies and approaches used in the treatment of mesothelioma:
- Angiogenesis Inhibitors: These medications work by blocking the formation of new blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Drugs like bevacizumab (Avastin) target vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is involved in angiogenesis.
- Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Inhibitors: EGFR is a protein that can promote the growth of cancer cells. Drugs like erlotinib (Tarceva) and gefitinib (Iressa) inhibit EGFR and may be used in some cases of mesothelioma.
- Immunotherapy: This treatment uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Checkpoint inhibitors like pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) target proteins that inhibit the immune response, allowing the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
- Mesothelin-Targeted Therapies: Mesothelin is a protein often found at higher levels in mesothelioma cells. Some therapies aim to target mesothelin directly or use it as a marker for delivering treatments specifically to cancer cells.
- PARP Inhibitors: Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors interfere with the ability of cancer cells to repair DNA damage. While not specifically approved for mesothelioma, they are being investigated in clinical trials for their potential efficacy.
- Targeted Drug Delivery Systems: Researchers are exploring ways to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to the site of the tumor using nanoparticles or other targeted delivery systems, minimizing damage to healthy tissues.
- Multimodal Approaches: Often, a combination of different targeted therapies or combining targeted therapies with traditional treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation is used for better efficacy.
It’s essential to note that while these targeted therapies show promise, not all patients respond in the same way, and their effectiveness can vary. Clinical trials play a crucial role in evaluating new targeted therapies and improving treatment outcomes for mesothelioma patients.
Patients with mesothelioma should work closely with their healthcare team to explore all available treatment options and determine the most suitable course of action based on their specific condition, stage of cancer, and overall health.