Study Finds New Agent May Enhance Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

Share Article

Turkish researchers say a new drug may make a standard chemotherapy drug more effective – and less toxic – for patients fighting malignant mesothelioma.

The combination...had a greater effect on the mesothelioma cells than either compound alone.

Surviving Mesothelioma is reporting on a promising new drug study published in Genetic and Molecular Research. The study suggests that panobinostat, an experimental drug developed by Novartis, may improve the effectiveness of cisplatin, one of the most common drugs used to treat mesothelioma.

Panobinostat works by inhibiting cellular expression of certain enzymes that help make it possible for cancer cells to grow out of control. When expression is inhibited, cells die instead of growing and spreading. Panobinostat is being tested for the treatment of several types of cancer, including lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

In the Turkish mesothelioma trial, scientists treated both normal cells and mesothelioma cells with a combination of 1-100 µM cisplatin and 25-1000 nM panobinostat. After 24 hours, they found that mesothelioma cells that had the treatment were less likely to survive. Further testing found that these cells failed to express critical genes. The combination of the two drugs had a greater effect on the mesothelioma cells than either compound alone.

Equally important is the finding that the healthy cells treated with the same combination did not show the same inhibited gene expression. According to the authors, this suggests that combining cisplatin with panobinostat may be a safer way to treat mesothelioma.

“Use of cisplatin in combination with new chemotherapeutic agents may reduce the toxic effects of cisplatin in normal cells and result in more effective removal of tumor cells,” the scientists conclude in Genetics and Molecular Research. Side effects from toxicity often limit how much cancer medicine a patient can take.

Typically, cisplatin is combined with pemetrexed (Alimta) to treat mesothelioma. Although this is considered a first-line treatment for this rare cancer, is it only moderately effective. Most of the 2,500 Americans diagnosed with mesothelioma each year do not live longer than 18 months from diagnosis. The new study on panobinostat appears in Genetics and Molecular Research (Gultekin, KE, “Effects of cisplatin and panobinostat on human mesothelial (met-5A) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MSTO-211H) cells”, November 11, 2013, Genetic and Molecular Research, pp. 5405-5413. (

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
+1 (919) 570-8595
Email >
Follow us on
Visit website