The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) recently updated their treatment guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The NCCN, a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives.
Their mesothelioma treatment guide book, which was published in collaboration with the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, will in the future include pembrolizumab and nivolumab +/- ipilimumab as options for “subsequent systemic treatment.”
Dr. James Stevenson, an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic, and a member of the Meso Foundation’s Science Advisory Board, is a member of the review panel of the NCCN.
“I was happy to see that these have been added as options given the data that have been presented to date. The drugs are clearly active in meso and unfortunately there are not going to be randomized data forthcoming in the second or third-line setting with these agents. In addition, we know that there are no significantly effective treatments after front-line pem/platinum (also known as Alimta/cisplatin),” said Dr. Stevenson.
On the heels of a lively debate about off-label treatment at the International Symposium on Malignant Mesothelioma this year, Dr. Stevenson believes that patients need to be able to access these drugs at some point in their treatment.
“Yes, the main goal is to get these patients on clinical trials but I don’t want somebody to miss out on a chance at life-changing treatment if they can’t get on a study either,” he said.