Immunotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma: current status and future directions

Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2017 Jun;6(3):315-324. doi: 10.21037/tlcr.2017.05.02.


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) has been marked historically by poor prognosis. Current standard of care for this deadly disease results in sub-optimal improvements in overall survival (OS), which has prompted researchers to explore innovative treatment alternatives. Immunotherapy is an emerging therapeutic modality that harnesses the power of the human immune system. In this review, we summarize the different methods of immunotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Using we searched the terms "immunotherapy" and "immune therapy" combined with "pleural mesothelioma". Our search yielded 75 trials, among which 37 trials met our specific criteria. Our search identified immune checkpoint blockade, immunotoxin therapy, anticancer vaccines, oncolytic viral therapy, and adoptive cell therapy as the most common and pertinent methods of immunotherapy currently being assessed in clinical trials. We have reviewed the most up-to-date clinical trials involving immunotherapeutic approaches for the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. In addition to highlighting some of the successes of immunotherapy, we also have identified limitations that must be overcome to improve the efficacy of these therapies.

Keywords: Immunotherapy; malignant pleural mesothelioma; thoracic malignancies.

Publication types

  • Review