Clinical Trials Eligibility of Patients With Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Use of Novel Therapies and Outcomes

Clin Lung Cancer. 2020 Jul;21(4):378-383.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2020.01.007. Epub 2020 Mar 7.


Introduction: Studies of bevacizumab and pembrolizumab in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma suggest anticancer efficacy; clinical trial populations are not reflective of real-world patients. We aimed to determine the proportion of real-world patients who would be eligible for trials, identify patients who participated in clinical trials, and examine treatment and outcome data.

Patients and methods: Consecutive patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma seen at our center from January 2012 to July 2018 were assessed with regards to their eligibility for Mesothelioma Avastin Cisplatin Study (MAPS) and KEYNOTE-028 clinical trials. Prognostic information, treatment use, and overall survival (OS) data were also collected.

Results: A total of 133 patients were included: 50% and 37%, respectively, did not meet trial eligibility for MAPS or KEYNOTE-028, most commonly owing to age ≥75 (23%), Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of ≥2 (21%), concomitant medication (21%), or comorbidity (12%). MAPS eligibility did not correlate with use of bevacizumab (P = .30) or improved OS (P = .87). Eligibility for KEYNOTE-028 correlated with pembrolizumab use (P < .001), but not improved OS (P = .21). Patients who received an investigational anticancer therapy on any clinical trial had improved OS: 32.4 (95% CI, 23.9-40.9) months versus 20.5 (95% CI, 15.8-25.3) months (P = .01).

Conclusion: Only ≤63% of our patients were eligible for these trials, highlighting the differences between real-world patients and the highly select trial population. Our patients who participated in clinical trials had superior OS, further emphasizing the selection bias in the trial population.

Keywords: Bevacizumab; Pembrolizumab; Real world population; Survival outcomes; Treatment utilisation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bevacizumab / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic
  • Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic
  • Eligibility Determination*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / drug therapy*
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bevacizumab
  • pembrolizumab
  • Cisplatin