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Drug Apitolisib Increases Survival in Peritoneal Mesothelioma Patients

Researchers say an investigational drug could increase survival in peritoneal mesothelioma patients. The small molecule drug known as Apitolisib inhibits certain cell signaling pathways and has been used in trials studying the treatment of solid cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and endometrial carcinoma, among others. Now, researchers say several patients have achieved symptomatic and disease benefit, with one patient having a partial response for nearly three years. The most promising news is the patients have been doing well for a remarkable 10-13 years post-diagnosis.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type of mesothelioma and it affects the tissue lining the inside of the abdomen called peritoneum. Though less common then pleural mesothelioma, it is estimated that around 10-20% of mesothelioma cases reported each year are peritoneal. Current treatments for the disease include chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Many patients with the disease also qualify for one of the most innovative treatments available today for rare and complex cancers—Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy.

Known as HIPEC, this highly concentrated heated chemotherapy treatment is delivered directly to the abdomen during surgery. Studies show that around half of patients who undergo HIPEC will live five years or more.

With effective treatments such as HIPEC and promising drugs such as apitolisib on the horizon, there is hope for peritoneal (and pleural) mesothelioma patients. Apitolisib shows such promise, that researchers are currently investigating the safety and effectiveness of the drug in multiple studies consisting of larger patient groups.

One of the most recent studies showed evidence of single agent activity including ten Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) partial responses (confirmed for peritoneal mesothelioma, PIK3CA mutant head- and-neck cancer, and three pleural mesotheliomas). Researchers also concluded that apitolisib was reasonably tolerated at 30 mg—the selected dose for pleural mesothelioma patients given limited respiratory reserve. Modest but durable anti-tumor activity was demonstrated.

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk to your doctor about clinical trials for investigational drugs such as apitolisib. Innovative therapies such as this could help treat your specific type of mesothelioma and increase survival.



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Dolly, S. O., A. J. Wagner, and J. C. Bendell. "Phase I Study of Apitolisib (GDC-0980), Dual Phosphatidylinositol-3-Kinase and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Kinase Inhibitor, in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors." Clinical Cancer Research 22.12 (2016): 2874-884. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Web. 13 Nov. 2017.

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