Veterans diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma are offered a variety of treatment protocols designed to prolong their lives, decrease their pain, and improve the quality of life that remains to them as they face this rare and fatal form of cancer. Chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy are the treatments most frequently offered, but each comes with risks that must be weighed by the patient and their physician. A notable concern is the kidney damage that often follows cisplatin-based chemotherapy treatment, but a recent study has identified a way to predict which patients are most at risk for that particular adverse effect, and to make informed choices to avoid it.
The research was conducted by scientists from Niigata University in Japan, who set out to uncover exactly what it was that caused some patients being treated with the combination of cisplatin and Alimta – the gold standard treatment for malignant mesothelioma — to suffer from kidney damage. They discovered that a protein called megalin, which regulates the uptake of other proteins and lipids, is found in higher levels in the urine of those most likely to suffer kidney damage after chemotherapy. Megalin is found on the surface of some epithelial cells, including those of the kidneys, and study author Satoshi Shoji revealed that when examining the urine samples provided by patients diagnosed with either pleural mesothelioma or lung cancer, they realized the connection. In an article about their findings published in the scientific journal BMC Cancer, he wrote,“A negative correlation was found between baseline urinary A-megalin levels and change in eGFR [a measure of kidney function].”
The researchers believe that with this new knowledge, physicians will be able to test mesothelioma patients for their megalin levels and base their decision whether to use chemotherapy on whether they are at risk. This will go a long way to maintaining veterans’ overall health when being treated for this asbestos-related disease.
If you or someone you love is a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma, we have the resources you need to help you get the most out of your treatment and the benefits available to you. For more information, contact us today at 1-800-726-7245.
This information is invaluable in helping physicians as they devise treatment plans for their mesothelioma patients. By ordering a simple urine test for megalin, doctors can see which patients are at greatest risk for kidney damage and choose to pursue alternative therapies.