Mesothelioma Study: Direct Chemo-Drug Delivery During Surgery

In the interest of many of our clients who suffer from the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma, we sometimes post about new medical research that has potential for helping to treat the devastating cancer. Baylor has announced the launch of a clinical research study that will evaluate a new chemotherapy-drug treatment protocol.


Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The tumors grow in the linings around major organs, most commonly in the lining around the lungs, called the pleura. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include weight loss, lumps under the skin on the chest, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, fluid in the chest, painful cough and more.

Treatment of mesothelioma is difficult because it is often first discovered at an advanced state of the disease. Treatment can include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Because of limited treatment options in many cases, it is not unusual for patients to participate in experimental clinical trials of new treatments, like the upcoming study at Baylor.

The Baylor Clinical Trial

The Baylor College of Medicine Lung Institute’s Mesothelioma Treatment Center announced on December 20 that it has begun enrolling participants with malignant pleural mesothelioma in a clinical study of the performance of two chemotherapy drugs when placed together in the chest at the site of tumors through surgical means.

Baylor physicians already deliver heated cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug, into the chest cavity in surgery with a positive impact on survival. Heated chemotherapy administered surgically is less toxic to the body so higher amounts can be delivered than through IVs, according to Dr. Shawn Groth, cited in the Baylor news release.

In another treatment method, when cisplatin is combined with the cancer drug pemetrexed and delivered intravenously in chemotherapy treatment, the results are more promising than when cisplatin is used through IV alone.

In the new study, researchers want to learn whether the combination of these two drugs when administered heated and through surgery directly into the chest will be more effective than cisplatin delivered this way alone.