Journal of Thoracic Disease 2021 April [Link]

Sven Oliver Schumann, Gregor Kocher, Fabrizio Minervini

Abstract

The malignant pleural mesothelioma is a very aggressive tumor which is arising from mesothelial cells and is associated with asbestos exposure. It is a heterogeneous cancer that shows a complex pattern of molecular changes, including genetic, chromosomic, and epigenetic abnormalities. The malignant pleural mesothelioma is characterized by a silent and slow clinical progression with an average period of 20-40 years from the asbestos exposure phase to the start of the symptoms. Unfortunately, to date, the therapeutic options are very limited, especially if the tumor is detected late. This narrative review provides an extended overview of the present evidence in the literature regarding the epidemiology, diagnostic pathways and treatment approaches of the malignant pleural mesothelioma. The treatment of mesothelioma has evolved slowly over the last 20 years not only from a surgical point of view but also radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy play nowadays a key role. Several surgical strategies are available ranging from extrapleural pneumonectomy to cytoreductive surgery but a multidisciplinary approach seems to be mandatory because a single approach has not proved to date to be resolutive. New non-surgical treatment options appear to be promising but the results have to be taken in account with caution because clear evidence with high-quality studies is still lacking.