Quick Facts
  • pin location icon
    1588 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38104
  • house icon next to a calendar outline
    Year Built:
  • icon of person with first aid kit
    Number of Physicians:

West Cancer Center First to Use Tumor Treating Fields for Mesothelioma

As the region’s pioneer in adult oncological care, West Cancer Center has built a 40-year legacy on research-driven, patient-centric excellence.

More than 38,000 patients were treated at one of its clinics in 2019, many of whom benefited from its innovative approach to care.

West Cancer Center in 2019 was the first facility in the country certified to use Tumor Treating Fields, officially known as NovoTTF-100L, for patients with pleural mesothelioma.

Tumor Treating Fields, which involves disrupting cancer cell division through low-voltage electrical fields, was the first new FDA-approved treatment for mesothelioma in more than 15 years.

It added to the multidisciplinary approach to mesothelioma that already involved a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

West Cancer Center radiation oncologist Dr. Matthew Ballo has taken a leadership role in the latest, first-line treatment, which is designed to be used in combination with chemotherapy.

Patients with unresectable, locally advanced disease should see a survival benefit with the portable, take-home medical device.

“Many people with malignant pleural mesothelioma are not candidates for surgery, and approved nonsurgical treatments are very limited,” Ballo said. “We are proud that West Cancer Center was the first to offer this therapy, giving another much-needed option to patients and their families.”

Access to HIPEC for Peritoneal Mesothelioma at West Cancer Center

Patients with peritoneal mesothelioma, which involves the abdomen, can benefit from hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy, used in combination with cytoreductive surgery.

HIPEC is a heated, high-dose chemotherapy solution that is circulated throughout the abdominal cavity for up to 90 minutes to kill any tumor cells that evaded the surgeon. The solution is applied and removed at the end of the procedure.

Surgical oncologist Dr. Jeremiah Deneve performs the peritoneal surgery at West Cancer Center.

West Cancer Center Pioneers Immunotherapy

Research at West Cancer Center includes a wide range of clinical trials where the newest treatment advances often are made.

Many of the studies today involve novel immunotherapy drugs, which work by using the patient’s own immune system to kill the cancer cells.

The cancer center, named after founder Dr. Bill West, was one of the first in the country to conduct trials involving immunotherapy.

In the last decade, the West Cancer Center has been part of clinical trials that led to 75% of the drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Drug development has been a cornerstone of the center, which encourages patient enrollment into various studies.

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials at West Cancer Center

  • A phase II clinical trial assessing the effectiveness of the immunotherapy combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) for patients with rare tumors, including mesothelioma.