Research Finds Renal Cancer Treatment May Also Kill Mesothelioma Cells, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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Scientists in Japan and Austria say the kinase inhibitor temsirolimus stops mesothelioma growth in two different ways.

Temsirolimus inhibited cell viability and suppressed cell proliferation of all malignant pleural mesothelioma cell lines.

A new study published in the journal Oncology Reports and detailed by Surviving Mesothelioma suggests that temsirolimus, a kinase inhibitor used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), may offer a promising new way to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The group studied temsirolimus by itself and in combination with the popular mesothelioma chemotherapy drugs cisplatin or pemetrexed against cell samples from five different mesothelioma cell lines. They then used a series of highly sensitive chemical tests to determine exactly what effect the temsirolimus had on the cells and why.

Temsirolimus appeared to work against the mesothelioma cells in two different ways. By blocking the action of a gene pathway called mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), which is highly expressed in some mesothelioma lines, temsirolimus makes it harder for cancer cells to grow and divide. At the same time, the drug also acts on two other compounds – vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) – to prevent the formation of blood vessels (angiogenesis) needed to feed a growing tumor.

Although temsirolimus alone inhibited cell viability and suppressed cell proliferation in all of the mesothelioma cell lines tested, combining it with another drug enhanced the effect. “Combined treatment with temsirolimus and cisplatin inhibited the viability of all malignant pleural mesothelioma cell lines more effectively than temsirolimus alone,” the authors report. Noting that temsirolimus fights mesothelioma on two different levels, they suggest that It may give patients an advantage, especially if they have high mTOR expression.

Mesothelioma is a rare but highly-lethal cancer caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Most people diagnosed with this aggressive malignancy do not live longer than a year after diagnosis. For this reason, researchers around the world are actively testing drugs like temsirolimus that may offer an alternative ways to treat the disease or make current treatments more effective.

The original study on temsirolimus was published in a recent issue of Oncology Reports. (Moriva, M, et al, “Antitumor effect and antiangiogenic potential of the mTOR inhibitor temsirolimus against malignant pleural mesothelioma”, December 30, 2013, Oncology Reports, Epub ahead of print.

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.

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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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