Revue des Maladies Respiratoires. 2007 Oct;24(8 Pt 2):6S157-64. [Link]

Porret E, Madelaine J, Galateau-Sallé F, Bergot E, Zalcman G.

Service de Pneumologie, Pôle Coeur-Poumons-Vaisseaux, Université Basse-Normandie, CHU de Caen, France.


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare tumour due to occupational asbestos exposure. The incidence of MPM will continue to increase until 2020-2030. The incidence reaches 100 cases/million/year in occupationally exposed populations as opposed to 1 case/million/year in the general population, leading to 800 to 1,000 cases per year in France. The molecular carcinogenesis of MPM is incompletely understood but alterations to genes NF2, c-met, WT1 RASSF and p16 have been described. These genes are involved in cell invasion and motility, cell division and apoptosis control. Histological diagnosis remains difficult and depends on immunohistochemical analysis as described by the French Mesopath group. Clinical diagnosis relies on thoracoscopy and large pleural biopsies, with increasing use of CT-PET for the evaluation of disease extent. Therapeutic strategy includes prophylactic irradiation following drainage or thoracoscopy to prevent tumour nodule development along drainage channels and puncture sites. In selected patients, extensive extra-pleural pneumonectomy can be performed with curative intent. First line chemotherapy is based on a combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin that has demonstrated an improvement in overall survival and quality of life in phase 3 trials. Antiangiogenic agents such as bevacizumab (Avastatin) may be of interest but need to be tested in phase 3 trials. The Mesothelioma Avastatin Pemetrexed Study (MAPS) is ongoing, coordinated by the French Thoracic Cancer Intergroup (IFCT).