A new study out of France, published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology, reports that a combination of the immunotherapy drugs nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) are showing promise is slowing malignant mesothelioma tumor growth. The drugs are currently in phase II of clinical trials and being used in a 125 patient study.
Immunotherapy is used to jumpstart the patient’s compromised immune system so it can seek and destroy the malignant tumor cells. Researchers found that while on their own each drug does help to slow tumor growth, the best results are achieved when a combination of the drugs are administered. 26% of patients in the study who received the drug combination had a reduction in their tumor size.
An author of the study, Dr. Scherpereel, stated that “Mesothelioma cells build a protective tumor microenvironment to shield themselves against the immune system’s attacks and even act against anti-tumor immune response. Therefore, therapies that shift tumor microenvironment from a state of immune suppression to one of immune activation may hold promise in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The most common side effects reported about the treatment included thyroid problems, colon inflammation, and skin rash
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