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Researchers Say Carbon-Ion Therapy Fights Mesothelioma Tumors

Researchers at the renowned National Institute of Radiological Sciences, National Institute for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (NIRS-NIQRST) have discovered that carbon-ion radiotherapy (carbon-ion therapy) fights mesothelioma tumors. In the study, published in the journal Oncotarget, the research team wrote “treatment using charged carbon ion beams is an emerging and promising form of radiotherapy that can target deeply located and radioresistant tumors, because of the high energy released by the spread out bragg peak (SOBP).”

“Accumulating evidence indicates that tumors contain a small population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) that possess characteristics of self-renewal and tumorigenic properties. Currently, CSCs are mainly identified using cell surface markers that are specific for each tumor type. It has been reported that expression of cell membrane markers such as CD24, CD44, and CD26 is indicative of malignant mesothelioma (MM) CSCs. These CSCs are closely related with chemo-radioresistance, tumor relapse and metastasis. The efficient eradication of these CSCs is therefore the key in improving cancer curability.”

In another recent study, the team found that carbon-ion therapy had a “marked effect” on colon and pancreatic CSCs, and when combined with DNA damaging drugs, the therapy had more power to kill those of radioresistant CSCs. “Considering the fact that cisplatin (CDDP) is a highly effective chemotherapeutic agent for mesothelioma, in the present study, we explored the mechanism through which carbon ion beams kill MM cells when used alone or induce DNA damage and alter the expression of apoptotic and autophagy-related genes when used in combination with cisplatin compared with photon beams.”

This is the first study to report the effectiveness of carbon ion beams alone or in combination with cisplatin in targeting MM CSCs in vitro. “This study may provide information for the development of new treatment strategies for this refractory cancer,” wrote the team.

Although carbon-ion therapy is not yet available in the U.S., “in the past two decades, 11,000 cancer patients have been treated by carbon-ion radiotherapy using HIMAC (Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator in Chiba), and the outcomes have been encouraging.”

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk your doctor about clinical trials for innovative new therapies that have the potential to treat your specific type of mesothelioma. At any given time, there are hundreds to thousands of clinical trials at underway at varying phases. Talk to your doctor about participating in a clinical trial today.



Sai, Sei, and Masao Suzuki. "Effects of Carbon Ion Beam Alone or in Combination with Cisplatin on Malignant Mesothelioma Cells in Vitro." Oncotarget. Impact Journals, 13 Mar. 2018. Web. 24 Apr. 2018.