May 18, 2011 – Temsirolimus, a drug commonly used to treat kidney cancer, may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy for mesothelioma, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology. The drug is used to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma by slowing tumor growth. Researchers in Austria have found that temsirolimus may also slow the growth of malignant pleural mesothelioma cells.
Temsirolimus is a kinase inhibitor, which blocks the growth of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) proteins. These proteins are found in mesothelioma cells. The researchers found that temsirolimus strongly blocked mTOR-mediated signals and had a cytostatic, or growth-stopping, effect on all mesothelioma cells. However, mesothelioma cells that were resistant to cisplatin, a widely used chemotherapy drug, showed hypersensitivity against temsirolimus. This suggests that temsirolimus might be a promising treatment strategy, either in combination with other current chemotherapeutic treatments or as second-line treatment after chemotherapy failure.