A clinical trial recently conducted in Japan and supervised by the Japanese Ministry of Health and cancer researchers Eli Lilly and Company had very promising results. They recently announced that a combination of Pemetrexed and Cisplatin, two chemotherapy drugs, safely and effectively treated patients suffering from malignant pleural mesothelioma and effectively prevented the spread of the asbestos cancer in trial participants.

Pleural mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the pleura, or lining of the lung cavity, and is caused by exposure to airborne asbestos fibers. This study involved 20 participants who were between the ages of 20 and 75 and were given a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis and had visible and measurable cancerous tumors. Those who participated in this clinical trial were not eligible for any curative surgery and had not received chemotherapy treatment before the trial.

Participants were monitored throughout the study as they received two Pemetrexed plus Cisplatin chemotherapy treatments. Pemetrexed is a chemotherapy drug known as Alimta and is engineered to interfere with the reproduction and spread of cancer cells in the body by preventing the production of key enzymes needed for cell growth. Cisplatin is also a chemotherapy drug that is known to cause apoptosis or the death of cancerous cells. When accompanying Pemetrexed, these two drugs were very effective in preventing the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

The findings of this clinical trial are extremely encouraging to oncologists and cancer researchers, not to mention the thousands of people suffering from pleural mesothelioma cancer or other malignant mesothelioma cancers and those suffering from other non-small-cell lung cancers. The combination of Pemetrexed and Cisplatin has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and is a valid initial method of treatment for patients.