New Report May Help Doctors Predict Chemotherapy Success, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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Japanese research suggests a biomarker called osteopontin could help some mesothelioma patients avoid the trial-and-error approach to treatment.

Biomarker May Predict Chemo Success

Our results suggest that osteopontin may be used as a single predictive biomarker of the effectiveness of pemetrexed [Alimta].

Scientists say testing for the structural glycoprotein osteopontin in mesothelioma tissue samples could help streamline the process of selecting an effective treatment. Details on the new study have just been posted on the Cancer Monthly website and can be read by clicking here.

Doctors in the Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Oncology at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo say osteopontin can help predict the likely effectiveness of the popular mesothelioma chemotherapy drug Alimta (pemetrexed). Available since 2004, Alimta is the only drug specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. It is the first-line treatment for most patients.

“Our results suggest that osteopontin may be used as a single predictive biomarker of the effectiveness of pemetrexed [Alimta] in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma,” writes the study’s lead author Susumu Takeuchi in a summary of the team’s findings.

The study, published in the International Journal of Oncology, found high immunohistochemical expression of osteopontin in two of the three malignant pleural mesothelioma patients who had a partial response to Alimta-based chemotherapy. In laboratory tests, half of the mesothelioma cell lines tested were sensitive to Alimta, while the other half were not.

“Right now, mesothelioma treatment is largely hit-or-miss,” observes Cancer Monthly’s Managing Editor Alex Strauss. “If osteopontin is proven to be a better way to predict treatment success from the outset, it could potentially save time and lives.”

To read all the details of the new study and how it may be used to help people with mesothelioma, see Biomarker May Predict Chemotherapy Response in Mesothelioma, available now on the Cancer Monthly website.

Takeuchi, S et al, “Significance of osteopontin in the sensitivity of malignant pleural mesothelioma to pemetrexed”, April 7, 2014, International Journal of Oncology, 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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Cancer Monthy
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