Mesothelioma and Chemotherapy

July 19, 2011

What is chemotherapy, and what role does it play in the treatment of malignant mesothelioma? Chemotherapy is the use of chemical agents in the treatment or control of cancer, in this case, mesothelioma cancer. These chemicals retard the growth and spread of malignant cells and may be used to diminish the size of a malignant growth before removing it surgically. This type of chemotherapeutic application (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) is currently in clinical trials for mesothelioma patients.


The chemicals used in chemotherapy for the malignant mesothelioma patient are typically administered via an intravenous drip, injection, or orally. Combination chemotherapy—the introduction of multiple anti-cancer chemicals in a chemotherapeutic application—has had more success in treating mesothelioma than so-called “single-agent” chemotherapy. The market names of the two chemical compounds used most frequently in chemotherapy for malignant mesothelioma are Cisplatin and Alimpta. Combined, the two medications comprise the first FDA-approved chemotherapeutic intervention specific to the treatment of mesothelioma cancer.


The side effects of chemotherapy are well-known and much-feared. Some patients opt not to try to treat their mesothelioma through chemotherapeutic means, afraid that the cure may prove worse than the disease. While it is true that chemotherapy for mesothelioma can cause fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, these side effects can now be made more tolerable than in the past.


Mesothelioma cancer specialists frequently prescribe antiemetic medication to ameliorate the nausea and vomiting that may result from chemotherapy. Yoga, meditation, moderate exercise, and plenty of rest can offset the fatigue factor while a mesothelioma patient is undergoing chemotherapy for the disease.

Getting to know about Malignant Mesothelioma: