When mesothelioma progresses there can be pain and that can decrease quality of life. Recently we wrote about a Clinical Trial at the Moffitt Center designed to deliver chemotherapy locally to patients to help alleviate pain and improve quality of life. This therapy is called trans arterial chemo perfusion. This therapy is being examined for administering of a small amount of chemotherapy via an arterial catheter.
The procedure involves inserting a small catheter usually in the groin and threading it up to the area of the tumor. At that point specific blood vessels that allow the tumor to flourish are identified and chemotherapy is applied locally to the area. It is theorized that local application of the chemotherapy will help to avoid systemic side effects caused from chemotherapy. By applying the chemotherapy locally to the mesothelioma tumor, it is hoped the tumor will shrink and alleviate some of the pain and symptoms of mesothelioma. Some of the symptoms that it hopes to improve are shortness of breath and pain, thus improving the quality of life for mesothelioma patients.
It is confusing to realize how many different ways that chemotherapy can be administered. Chemotherapy is commonly given by mouth, or by catheter that has been placed into a vein. Another procedure that is currently being used for other cancers is called trans arterial chemo embolization or TACE. A doctor, most commonly a trained Interventional Radiologist, inserts a catheter into usually a large blood vessel in the patient’s groin and feeds it up through the arterial system. This procedure involves first installing the chemo through the catheter and then inserting tiny beads toward the tumor that then block the blood supply and nutrients. Another way of administering chemotherapy is during surgery for certain conditions. Chemotherapy is heated and washes the area after removal of all the tumor that is visible to the surgeon’s eye. Intra op heated chemotherapy has been administered for peritoneal mesothelioma and for pleural mesothelioma and other cancers.
The Moffitt Trial is the first one with this therapy being conducted in the United States for pleural mesothelioma. A previous clinical trial of patients with pleural mesothelioma and chemo perfusion has taken place in Germany – published in the Journal of Radiology in February of 2013, Non Selective Trans arterial Chemo perfusion: A Palliative Treatment for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, by TJ Vogl et al. The purpose of this clinical trial was to evaluate tumor response and alleviation of patient’s symptoms after treatment. The conclusion of this trial was that chemo perfusion has the potential to yield positive results for the treatment of recurrent and or unrespectable pleural mesothelioma.
Become informed about the treatment options that might be available for you or your loved one. Clinical Trials often offer an option that is not yet available.