A COMMAND Phase 2 trial of maintenance therapy using the drug defactinib has been found unable to increase the survival rate of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. This aggressive and incurable cancer has few treatment options to begin with; Louisville residents should know that the primary treatment is chemotherapy using a combination of the drugs pemetrexed and cisplatin.

This, in itself, has limited results, and no approved therapy exists for addressing the cancer as it begins to progress. Researchers tested defactinib in 344 patients who had undergone at least four cycles of chemotherapy. A random selection of 173 patients received oral defactinib while the rest were given a placebo. For the first group, 4.1 months was the median progression-free survival: in other words, the time between treatment and the first signs that the condition is worsening. For the second group, that number was 4 months.

There was also little difference between the two groups regarding survival rate and quality of life. Mesothelioma progression was the reason why therapy was ultimately discontinued for 62% of the patients.

Researchers had hoped that defactinib maintenance therapy would provide patients with a new and targeted therapy for their cancer. According to researchers, the benefits of precision medicine are underexplored when it comes to the treatment of pleural mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a cancer usually linked with long-term asbestos exposure. Victims may be exposed to this mineral through products like automotive parts and even cosmetic products, or they may breathe it in while working in buildings with old insulation or tiles containing asbestos. Whatever the situation, victims are normally not to blame, but someone else might be, such as an employer or the manufacturer of a contaminated product. Those who wish to pursue a claim and recover damages may consult with a lawyer.