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Carbon-Ion Radiotherapy Kills Mesothelioma Cells, Says NIRS-NIQRST Research Team

Researchers at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, National Institute for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (NIRS-NIQRST) have discovered that carbon-ion radiotherapy has the ability to fight mesothelioma tumors. In the study, the team wrote “treatment using charged carbon ion beams is an emerging and promising form of radiotherapy that can target deeply located and radioresistant tumors, because of the high energy released by the spread out bragg peak (SOBP). Accumulating evidence indicates that tumors contain a small population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) that possess characteristics of self-renewal and tumorigenic properties.”

“Currently, CSCs are mainly identified using cell surface markers that are specific for each tumor type. It has been reported that expression of cell membrane markers such as CD24, CD44, and CD26 is indicative of malignant mesothelioma (MM) CSCs. These CSCs are closely related with chemo-radioresistance, tumor relapse and metastasis. The efficient eradication of these CSCs is therefore the key in improving cancer curability.”

The team found in another study that carbon-ion therapy had a “marked effect” on pancreatic and colon CSCs. In addition, when combined with DNA damaging drugs, the therapy had more power to kill those of radioresistant CSCs. “Considering the fact that cisplatin (CDDP) is a highly effective chemotherapeutic agent for mesothelioma, in the present study, we explored the mechanism through which carbon ion beams kill MM cells when used alone or induce DNA damage and alter the expression of apoptotic and autophagy-related genes when used in combination with cisplatin compared with photon beams.”

According to the team, this is the first study to report the effectiveness of carbon-ion beams alone or in combination with cisplatin in targeting MM CSCs in vitro. “This study may provide information for the development of new treatment strategies for this refractory cancer,” wrote the team.

Carbon-ion therapy is not yet available in the U.S. However, the team states that “in the past two decades, 11,000 cancer patients have been treated by carbon-ion radiotherapy using HIMAC (Heavy Ion Medical Accelerator in Chiba), and the outcomes have been encouraging.”

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, talk your doctor about innovative new treatments such as carbon-ion therapy. Though chemotherapy, traditional radiation therapy and surgery are the first lines of defense against the disease, a newer treatment could be effective in helping treat your specific type of mesothelioma. Talk to your doctor about newer treatment options today.



Sai, Sei, and Masao Suzuki. "Effects of Carbon Ion Beam Alone or in Combination with Cisplatin on Malignant Mesothelioma Cells in Vitro." Oncotarget. Impact Journals, 13 Mar. 2018. Web. 24 Apr. 2018.