Background: Malignant pleural effusion is a commonly seen complication of malignancies such as lung and breast cancers. In Western countries, talc is frequently used as a standard therapeutic agent (pleurodesis agent) with the aim of alleviating symptoms including dyspnea and chest pain. Talc is not recognized as a pleurodesis agent in Japan. The aim of this study was to verify the efficacy and safety of sterilized talc (NPC-05) for the introduction of talc in Japan.
Methods: The study was a single-arm, open-label, investigator-initiated trial conducted jointly at six institutions. The subjects were 30 patients with malignant pleural effusions. A solution of 4 g NPC-05 suspended in 50 ml physiological saline was instilled into the pleural space to perform pleurodesis.
Results: The efficacy of NPC-05 for pleural adhesion 30 days after pleurodesis was 83.3% (25/30 cases). Amelioration of dyspnea and pain (chest pain) was seen. Commonly seen adverse effects were increased C-reactive protein (CRP) and fever. Nearly all adverse events were phenomena previously reported as adverse effects of talc. No acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or other serious side effects occurred.
Conclusion: The efficacy and safety of NPC-05 for malignant pleural effusion in Japanese patients was verified, and the clinical outcomes with talc were confirmed to be the same as previously reported in other countries. There is thought to be a high level of need for this agent in the treatment of malignant pleural effusion in Japan.