Using Alimta for MesotheliomaMalignant pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the chest cavity (called the pleura). Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for this condition. Pleural mesothelioma symptoms are usually due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura. These symptoms often include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the chest or under the ribcage.
In general, mesothelioma treatment options include:
- Surgery (see Mesothelioma Surgery)
- Chemotherapy (see Mesothelioma Chemotherapy)
- Radiation therapy (see Mesothelioma Radiation).
Alimta is approved for use in combination with cisplatin for people who are not good candidates for surgery.
How Does Alimta Work?Alimta belongs to a group of drugs known as folate antimetabolites, folate antagonists, or antifolates. It works by preventing the conversion of folic acid into its active form. Cells need that active form of folic acid to make DNA and RNA -- important molecules essential for cell division.
Alimta is somewhat selective for cancer cells, meaning that it is more likely to affect cancer cells instead of healthy cells. However, as with most forms of chemotherapy, some healthy cells will be affected; this process is likely responsible for many of the side effects of chemotherapy.