Previously, our group demonstrated that nuclear expression of E3 ubiquitin ligase (MDM2) in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is significantly associated with decreased overall survival. A possible explanation may be that overexpression of MDM2 leads to a proteasomal degradation of TP53 that eventually results in a loss of TP53-induced apoptosis and senescence. It is well known from other tumor entities that restoration of TP53 activity, e.g., by MDM2 inhibition, results in an instant TP53-induced stress and/or DNA damage response of cancer cells. Nutlin-3A (a cis-imidazoline analogue) has been described as a potent and selective MDM2 inhibitor preventing MDM2-TP53-interaction by specific binding to the hydrophobic TP53-binding pocket of MDM2. In the present study, the effects of MDM2 inhibition in MPM via Nutlin-3A and standard platinum based chemotherapeutic agents were comparatively tested in three MPM cell lines (NCI-H2052, MSTO-211H, and NCI-H2452) showing different expression profiles of TP53, MDM2, and its physiological inhibitor of MDM2-P14/ARF. Our in vitro experiments on MPM cell lines revealed that Nutlin-3A in combination with cisplatin resulted in up to 9.75 times higher induction of senescence (p=0.0050) and up to 5 times higher apoptosis rate (p=0.0067) compared to the commonly applied cisplatin and pemetrexed regimens. Thus Nutlin-3A, a potent inhibitor of MDM2, is associated with a significant induction of senescence and apoptosis in MPM cell lines, making Nutlin-3A a promising substance for a targeted therapy in the subgroup of MPM showing MDM2 overexpression.