When you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma, one of your first thoughts will likely be about treatment. Considering your options can be incredibly difficult. The treatment options for mesothelioma range from surgery to chemotherapy and radiation. One of the other methods for treating mesothelioma could be immunotherapy treatment.
You might be more familiar with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation as treatment options because they’re discussed more openly and commonly for cancer patients. However, you may not have heard about immunotherapy treatments before. That type of treatment can sound confusing and complicated, but since it’s one of your options, you might want to know more about it.
There are some newer forms of immunotherapy treatments in clinical trials that have new data emerging about survival rates for mesothelioma patients. Let’s take a look at what those treatments are and the data collected from these trials so you can better understand one of your potential treatment options as a mesothelioma patient.
What Is Mesothelioma Immunotherapy Treatment?
One of the ways to treat mesothelioma is through immunotherapy treatment. This is a type of treatment that is used when chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery aren’t the best options or aren’t working as effectively as hoped. Immunotherapy takes use of the patient’s own immune system to fight the mesothelioma cells in their body.
Mesothelioma cells can bind to the immune system cells through making a protein. Immunotherapy treatments aim to keep those cells from binding together so that the immune system cells can fight the mesothelioma cells more effectively.
Currently, one specific type of treatment has gone through clinical trials. The FDA approved a combination therapy in October 2020. This is a treatment that combines the use of two agents that have already been used as immunotherapy treatments—nivolumab and ipilimumab.
Nivolumab is a checkpoint inhibitor, which means it keeps the mesothelioma cells from binding to the immune cells. Through breaking that bond, it allows the immune system cells to do their job by recognizing and attacking the tumor cells. Ipilimumab works in a very similar way, and the only difference is the receptor it binds to.
Without going into too great of detail, when used together, the combination increases the chances that your immune system can fight the mesothelioma cells because this specific immunotherapy treatment blocks the binding that inhibits the regular immune system response.
Survival Data Information
With all this information about the immunotherapy treatment, you could now be wondering what data they collected from trials of nivolumab/ipilimumab combination treatment. This trial was conducted by Bristol Myers Squibb, and was called the CheckMate-743 study.
In the CheckMate-743 study, scientists evaluated the combination immunotherapy treatment in previously untreated patients who have malignant pleural mesothelioma. In this trial, patients were administered the two separate treatments at different intervals to create a combination treatment.
Participants were given nivolumab, whose brand name is Opdivo, every two weeks. They were also given ipilimumab, whose brand name is Yervoy, every six weeks. The combination led to good results that eventually led to the treatment being FDA approved in 2020.
In terms of data, researchers revealed their findings. The study found that patients who received this combination treatment had a higher three-year survival rate as opposed to patients who only received chemotherapy. More specifically, 23% of patients who received this treatment were alive after 35.5 months, whereas 15% of patients who received chemotherapy were alive at this same time marker.
Comparatively, when immunotherapy treatments are used alone instead of this combination treatment, only 20% of patients will see a response to the treatment. This new combination immunotherapy treatment paired with other forms of treatment, like chemotherapy or radiation, could be incredibly successful to patients and have a greater response rate.
Potential Side Effects from Immunotherapy Treatments
Side effects are one of the things you’ll consider when you’re choosing what kind of treatment you should choose for mesothelioma. Your doctor will be able to help you by telling you about the potential side effects of immunotherapy treatments. While the combination of these two treatments as one doesn’t have any new side effects recorded or reported, each treatment on its own has possible side effects.
- Loss of appetite
- Skin rashes and other skin problems
- Severe stomach pain
- Extreme fatigue and weakness
- Muscle cramps and stiffness
- Sore throat
- Sores, ulcers, and white spots in the mouth
- Trouble breathing
- Hair loss
- Chest tightness
These are just some of the side effects of each of these treatments. There are many more possible side effects that you could have from these treatments, which you’ll have to consider before deciding to receive them.
Frost Law Firm, PC Can Help You
When you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you might need the help of a lawyer. If you were exposed to a dangerous condition and developed mesothelioma, the party who caused your cancer should be held accountable. Our mesothelioma lawyers are here to help you through your claim.
Frost Law Firm is experienced in representing people who have been diagnosed with lung cancer or mesothelioma after potential asbestos exposure. You can trust our firm to know how to handle your claim and hold a negligent party accountable for your diagnosis.
Reach out to our office today so we can get started fighting for you right away.