Mesothelioma Essentials: Mesothelioma Information, Support, and Resources
Mesothelioma Information, Support, and Resources
About Mesothelioma Treatments Clinical Trials Support/Discussion Resources and Further Reading Glossary

Treatments for Mesothelioma

Overview | Surgery | Radiation | Chemotherapy | Other Procedures | Emerging Therapies | Where to go for Treatment | Articles in Medical Journals


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Mesothelioma is usually treated by injecting chemotherapy drugs into a vein (intravenous or IV). Researchers are also studying the effectiveness of delivering chemotherapy directly into the chest or abdomen (intrapleural or intraperitoneal delivery).

Historically, doxorubicin has been the most widely used single chemotherapy drug. Other newer drugs, including gemcitabine, cisplatin, carboplatin, epirubicin, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, vinorelbine, paclitaxel, and methotrexate, now are often preferred and are usually given in different combinations.

A new chemotherapy, pemetrexed (registered trade name Alimta®) is showing some promise in clincal research studies, but has not been evaluated by the FDA for approval.

Multimodality therapy, the combination of surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy, is a common therapeutic approach for early stage mesothelioma. Trimodality therapy, in which all three of these modalities are used, is considered the most effective aggressive approach.

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