Phase 2 Data for Mesothelioma Drug Shows Potential

According to a story from, the clinical stage corporation Epizyme recently released detailed results from the Phase 2 trial of its leading investigational candidate, tazemetostat. This drug is in development for the treatment of mesothelioma with BAP1 protein function loss, which is associated with the BRCA1 gene. Mutations of this gene are also linked to ovarian and breast cancer. The results of the trial suggest that the therapy could be promising for mesothelioma patients.
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that originates from the lining of tissue that surrounds most of the body’s internal organs, called the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is known as the type of cancer that most commonly originates from exposure to asbestos. Over eighty percent of cases are directly linked to such exposure. It most commonly appears in the lining of the lungs and chest wall, but can also occur around the heart, around the testes, and along the abdominal lining. Symptoms of mesothelioma are variable depending in the location, but may include chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, weight loss, and a swollen abdomen. They develop slowly, and cancer often appears several decades after exposure. It responds poorly to treatment, with five year survival rate sitting around eight percent. To learn more about mesothelioma, click here.

In the study, 51 percent of patients experienced disease control after a treatment period of twelve weeks. In this study disease control was defined as stabilized disease, partial response, or complete response. 26 percent were able to maintain disease control for at least 24 weeks after the beginning of treatment. The 61 patients had all received extensive prior treatment before the study began.

The study results suggest that tazemetostat is capable of delaying the progression of mesothelioma. The drug was also generally safe in the study, with only five patients having to reduce the dosage due to side effects. Tazemetostat has a unique, first-in-class mechanism as an EZH2 inhibitor. Its effectiveness is being tested against other types of cancer as well, including multiple types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Hopefully, this experimental treatment will continue to display its effectiveness and safety in future trials.

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