Chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma and their side effects | Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma and their side effects

Men and women discussing mesothelioma

This page tells you about the chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma. There is information about

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma and their side effects

The most commonly used combination of chemotherapy drugs for pleural mesothelioma is pemetrexed and cisplatin. Other combinations or individual drugs may be used, including carboplatin, raltitrexed, mitomycin, vinorelbine and gemcitabine. For peritoneal mesothelioma, pemetrexed and cisplatin is the most common combination. Other drugs that may be used are irinotecan, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and gemcitabine.

Side effects

All chemotherapy drugs have side effects. Drugs affect people in different ways. Not everyone has the same side effects with the same drug. Some people have very few side effects at all. There are some side effects that are quite common with many chemotherapy drugs. These are

  • A fall in the number of blood cells
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sore mouth and mouth ulcers
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Feeling tired and run down

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Treating mesothelioma section.

 

 

Which drugs are used

The most commonly used combination of chemotherapy drugs for pleural mesothelioma is pemetrexed and cisplatin. Sometimes pemetrexed is combined with carboplatin. Other combinations or individual drugs may be used, including

For peritoneal mesothelioma, cisplatin and pemetrexed given into a vein is the most common combination. But one or more of the following drugs may be used

 

Side effects

All chemotherapy drugs have side effects. Drugs affect people in different ways though and some people have very few side effects. It is not possible to tell how you will react until you have had a particular drug. It is important to remember that side effects are temporary. They will usually go away when your treatment is finished. All the drugs have different side effects. You can ask your doctor or nurse which side effects are most common with the chemotherapy drugs you will have.

Some side effects are quite common with many chemotherapy drugs and these include

The links above take you to information about coping with these side effects in the main chemotherapy section.

 

Chemotherapy into the abdomen

Drugs used in trials for peritoneal mesothelioma include

The side effects of chemotherapy into the abdomen tend to be less than with chemotherapy into a vein. But some people have changes in blood pressure and heart rate during the chemotherapy procedure. Some people also have a high temperature. The changes normally go back to normal a few hours after the treatment.

Diagram showing how you have chemotherapy into the abdomen (men and women)

Rate this page:
Submit rating

 

Rated 4 out of 5 based on 4 votes
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 24 November 2015