Tumour Treating Fields Enhance Chemotherapy Success in Pleural Mesothelioma Patients

The final results of the STELLAR Phase II mesothelioma clinical trial were released this week, surpassing expectations.[i] This involved a new method of therapy, by which alternating electric fields (Tumour Treating Fields) were used to destabilise critical proteins and disrupt mesothelioma tumour cell division, ultimately killing tumour cells.

80 patients diagnosed with unresectable (cannot be removed through surgery) pleural mesothelioma were selected to take part in the STELLAR study.

All of the participants were treated with Tumour Treating Fields and chemotherapy (pemetrexed with cisplatin or carboplatin) in combination. Overall survival and progression-free survival times were recorded. Combination therapy survival was then compared against chemotherapy-only survival, documented in historical survival data.

Results showed that the combination treatment group had a median overall survival of more than 18 months, while the chemotherapy-only group survived a full 6 months less. 

Further, median progression-free survival in the group receiving combination treatment was 7.6 months, while the chemotherapy only group experienced mesothelioma recurrence within 5.7 months.

Researchers consider Tumour Treating Fields to be an ‘extremely promising therapeutic option’ and, pending FDA approval/availability to patients, this may become the new standard of care for pleural mesothelioma.


[i] Alex Strauss, ‘Electricity-based Mesothelioma Treatment Moves a Step Closer to FDA Approval’ (8 September 2018 Surviving Mesothelioma) https://survivingmesothelioma.com/electricity-based-mesothelioma-treatment-moves-a-step-closer-to-fda-approval/> accessed 11 September 2018.