In a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, temsirolimus, a drug that is used to treat kidney cancer, has shown positive results when treating pleural mesothelioma cells.
Temsirolimus is a kinase inhibitor, which blocks the growth of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) proteins. These proteins are found in the cancer’s cells.
Malignant mesothelioma, an uncommon form of cancer that develops in the lining of the vital organs in the body, is directly linked to asbestos exposure.
Because of the long latency period associated with the cancer, it is frequently not diagnosed until the late stages of the disease.
Temsirolimus as a Second-Line Treatment
Temsirolimus had a strong growth-stopping effect on all cancer cells. However, cisplatin, a commonly used chemotherapy drug for asbestos cancer treatment, displayed hypersensitivity against temsirolimus.
Because of this, researchers in the study believe temsirolimus can be used in combination with other current chemotherapeutic treatments as a second-line treatment.
Professor Walter Berger of the Institute of Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna, a researcher on the project, stated, “Malignant mesothelioma is a severe human malignancy characterized by a very bad prognosis, with a mean patient survival of less than one year. This unacceptable situation is mainly caused by late diagnosis combined with a distinct resistance to all forms of systemic therapy available so far.”
Professor Berger commented further on the results of the study saying, “In our preclinical study, published in the JTO, we were able to demonstrate that the inhibition of the major oncogene mTOR is activate against human mesothelioma especially after development of chemotherapy resistance both in vitro and in vivo. These results suggest the initiation of clinical trials involving mTOR inhibitors as novel anti-mesothelioma strategy.”