Photodynamic therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma: the future of treatment?

Expert Rev Respir Med. 2011 Feb;5(1):49-63. doi: 10.1586/ers.11.1.


Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a deadly incurable cancer, with a median survival of approximately 9 months. The best available chemotherapy, arguably the standard of care, only yields a 40% response rate and an 11-week extension in median survival. Surgery, the modality most likely to be associated with prolonged remission, remains investigational and must always be combined with other modalities in an effort to treat the microscopic disease that will remain even after the most aggressive operations. One such modality, photodynamic therapy, is a light-based cancer treatment that has features making it particularly well suited as a component of a surgery-based multimodal treatment plan. Utilizing intraoperative photodynamic therapy has enabled development of a less drastic surgical procedure that is also yielding some encouraging survival results. A unique aspect of photodynamic therapy is its stimulation of a tumor-directed immune response, a feature that offers promise for designing future treatments.

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Mesothelioma / drug therapy*
  • Mesothelioma / mortality
  • Mesothelioma / surgery
  • Photochemotherapy / trends*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Pleural Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pleural Neoplasms / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Photosensitizing Agents