Annals of Translational Medicine 2015 October [Link]

Viti A, Bertolaccini L, Terzi A.


The last years have witnessed an abrupt paradigm shift in cancer treatment owing to the discoveries concerning the relationships between the immune system and neoplastic cells. In the field of malignant mesothelioma, which, despite painstaking efforts, remains an incurable form of cancer, the researchers’ attention has been seized by a variety of new biologic approaches, including both viral gene therapy and active immunotherapy. The former is meant to induce programmed cell death by introducing a specific gene in the target cell, this gene encoding a specific protein with anticancer activity. Active immunotherapy, on the other hand, tires to induce an active response of the immune system, whose surveillance may be easily dodged by cancer cells. In fact, this mechanism seems to play an important role in the development, growth and diffusion of malignant mesothelioma which easily manages to hinder the immune response. A thorough understanding of the relationships existing between mesothelioma and immune system is the basis for the success of those immune therapies, which are showing promising results in the preclinical setting, especially when combined with other approaches, such as cytoreductive surgery.