Systemic approach to malignant pleural mesothelioma: what news of chemotherapy, targeted agents and immunotherapy?


Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare cancer with a cause-effect relationship to asbestos exposure. The prognosis is poor and chemotherapy seems the best treatment option. In the last two decades a deeper understanding of mesothelioma carcinogenesis and invasiveness mechanisms has prompted research efforts to test new agents in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma, but the results have been modest. Attractive preclinical data disappointed in subsequent experimental phases. Other promising agents failed to improve patient outcomes due to high toxicity. Interesting suggestions have come from preliminary data on immunotherapy. Several trials are ongoing and the results are eagerly awaited. The aim of this review is to discuss the most recent news on systemic therapy for advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Tumori 2016; 102(1): 18 - 30

Article Type: REVIEW



Diego Signorelli, Marianna Macerelli, Claudia Proto, Milena Vitali, Maria Silvia Cona, Francesco Agustoni, Nicoletta Zilembo, Marco Platania, Annalisa Trama, Rosaria Gallucci, Monica Ganzinelli, Giuseppe Pelosi, Ugo Pastorino, Filippo de Braud, Marina Chiara Garassino, Giuseppe Lo Russo

Article History


Financial support: None.
Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest associated with this publication.

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  • Department of Medical Oncology, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan - Italy
  • Department of Preventive and Predictive Medicine, Fondazione IRCSS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan - Italy
  • Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan - Italy
  • Division of Thoracic Surgery, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan - Italy
  • Diego Signorelli and Marianna Macerelli contributed equally to this work.

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