Both advanced-stage lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma are associated with a poor prognosis. Advances in treatment regimens for both diseases have had only a modest effect on their progressive course. Gene therapy for thoracic malignancies represents a novel therapeutic approach and has been evaluated in several clinical trials. Strategies have included induction of apoptosis, tumor suppressor gene replacement, suicide gene expression, cytokine-based therapy, various vaccination approaches, and adoptive transfer of modified immune cells. This review considers the clinical results, limitations, and future directions of gene therapy trials for thoracic malignancies.
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