Renal cancer drug temsirolimus shows promise against mesothelioma

A drug commonly used to treat kidney cancer may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy for mesothelioma, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.

Temsirolimus, a kinase inhibitor, blocks the action of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a protein that regulates cell growth, which can slow tumor growth. It's used to treat advanced .

But researchers in Austria have found that temsirolimus also may slow the growth of malignant pleural mesothelioma cells. Mesothelioma, a that is usually caused by exposure to asbestos and may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure, frequently resists and .

The researchers found that temsirolimus strongly blocked mTOR-mediated signals and had a cytostatic, or growth-stopping, effect on all mesothelioma cells. However, mesothelioma cells that were resistant to cisplatin, a widely used chemotherapy drug, showed hypersensitivity against temsirolimus.

That suggests that mTOR inhibitors like temsirolimus might be a promising treatment strategy either in combination with chemotherapy or as second-line treatment after chemotherapy failure.

"Malignant mesothelioma is a severe human malignancy characterized by a very bad prognosis, with a mean patient survival time of less than one year," said Professor Walter Berger, PhD, of the Institute of Cancer Research at the Medical University of Vienna. "This unacceptable situation is mainly caused by late diagnosis combined with a distinct resistance to all forms of systemic therapy available so far. Mesothelioma is frequently caused by asbestos exposure and unfortunately -- based on the long latency period -- the incidence peak lies, despite the ban on asbestos, still ahead. Consequently, novel therapeutic options for this devastative disease are urgently needed.

"In our preclinical study, published in the JTO, we were able to demonstrate that inhibition of the major oncogene mTOR is active against human mesothelioma especially after development of chemotherapy resistance both in vitro and in vivo," Berger said. "These results suggest the initiation of clinical trials involving mTOR inhibitors as a novel anti-mesothelioma strategy."

Provided by International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

not rated yet

Related Stories

Possible vaccine for mesothelioma proven safe

Mar 04, 2010

Researchers have demonstrated the safety of a potential vaccine against mesothelioma, a rare cancer associated primarily with asbestos exposure. The vaccine, which infuses uses a patient's own dendritic cells (DC) with antigen ...

Mystery unraveled: How asbestos causes cancer

Jun 29, 2010

More than 20 million people in the U.S., and many more worldwide, who have been exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing mesothelioma, a malignant cancer of the membranes that cover the lungs and abdomen that is resistant ...

Asbestos disease projections too low

Apr 02, 2007

Current predictions of the future incidence of asbestos-related disease have been substantially underestimated, according to new modelling to be presented in Melbourne today by an epidemiologist from The Australian National ...

Recommended for you

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

11 hours ago

(AP)—Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.

Penn team makes cancer glow to improve surgical outcomes

11 hours ago

The best way to cure most cases of cancer is to surgically remove the tumor. The Achilles heel of this approach, however, is that the surgeon may fail to extract the entire tumor, leading to a local recurrence.

User comments