Patients with mesothelioma treated with cisplatin and raliterciride may remain longer than those treated with cisplatin alone, according to a recent study in Europe and Canada (J Clin Oncol 2005, October 1; 23 (28): 6881- 9). Raltitrexed (Tomudex) affects the ability of tumor cells to proliferate and to produce ribonucleic acid from dioxin or DNA. Cisplatin is a classic chemotherapy drug.
Two hundred and fifty patients with mesothelioma participated in partial mesothelioma clinical studies to determine the safety and efficacy of raltitrexed. One hundred and twenty patients took cisplatin and the others, cisplatin plus raltitrexed. Most of them were men aged 58 and had no other chemotherapy.
The Raltitrexed trial was a phase III clinical trial as defined by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer. The Phase III study compares the new cancer treatment to a standard treatment that requires a large number of participants. Then comes the second phase of clinical trials on the safety and management of the new treatment and the first phase of clinical trials to test the efficacy of the drug in a small number of patients.
Increased survival in patients treated with raltitrexed
The researchers studied survival, pleural mesothelioma development, safety, tumor response rates, and patients’ quality of life. They found the following:
Forty-six percent of patients with pleural mesothelioma in the cisplatin / raltitrexed group survived at least one year, compared to 40% of patients in the cisplatin group.
The survival rate was 11.4 months for patients in the cisplatin / raltitrexed group, but only 8.8 months for patients in the cisplatin group.
24% of patients treated with cisplatin / raltitrexed had a positive response to pleural mesothelioma, compared with 14% of patients treated with cisplatin.
The quality of life in general was similar in the cisplatin group compared to the cisplatin / ralítrico group.
Some patients in the cisplatin and cisplatin / raltitrexed groups had low levels of white blood cells (neutrophils). Fatigue, nausea and vomiting were more common in the group of medications.
Raltitrexed is combined with Alimta® pleural mesothelioma medication
Raltitrexed belongs to the class of chemotherapeutic antifolates. It prevents the production of timalide synthase, which reduces the ability of mesothelioma to form DNA, which reduces the basic genetic material involved in cell cloning. It has been registered in Europe for the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer.