Localised spontaneous regression in mesothelioma -- possible immunological mechanism

Lung Cancer. 2001 May;32(2):197-201. doi: 10.1016/s0169-5002(00)00217-8.


Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive tumor usually associated with asbestos exposure. Although it can remain stable for prolonged periods, it has not been described to spontaneously regress. MM tumors are thought to be immunogenic based both on animal studies and on the good responses in some humans treated with immunotherapy. Here we present a case of pleural MM in which a transient spontaneous regression was associated with tumor tissue infiltration with mononuclear cells and serological evidence of anti-MM reactivity. The patient's tumor eventually progressed and with this progression there was evidence of loss of serological reactivity to some, but not all, of her MM antigens. The patient survived for 20 months and, in contrast to her initial biopsy, no significant lymphoid infiltrate was detected in her MM tissue at post mortem examination.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / blood*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology*
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite / adverse effects
  • Disease Progression
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung / chemistry
  • Lymphocytes, Tumor-Infiltrating
  • Mesothelioma / diagnostic imaging
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Mesothelioma / immunology*
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Mineral Fibers / analysis
  • Neoplasm Regression, Spontaneous / immunology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / immunology
  • Occupational Diseases / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / immunology


  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Mineral Fibers
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite