Immunotherapy and malignant mesothelioma: clinical perspectives

Bulletin du Cancer. 2007 Jan 1;94(1):23-31. [Link]

Gregoire M, Ebstein F.

Inserm, Unite 601, Institut de Biologie, 9 quai Moncousu, 44093 Nantes Cedex.


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare malignancy of the pleura with a very poor prognosis. Treatments evaluated for malignant mesothelioma, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are of limited efficacy. Given that some patients with MPM bear tumours regressing spontaneously or responding to immunotherapy suggests that the immune system may respond to MPM under some circumstances. Animal studies have also demonstrated immunoreactivity to MPM to different immunotherapies. Clinical trials investigating new trends in the treatment of stage I and II malignant mesothelioma have shown both immunotherapy and systemic chemo-immunotherapy to be efficacious. In addition, recent progresses in early detection techniques also provide hope that patients can be treated efficiently, at an earlier stage and well monitored. Thus, immunotherapy of cancer is undoubtedly a highly promising but also very challenging approach in the treatment of a disease that has slipped through the defence lines of the immune system. This article will review past and recent developments of such a clinical strategy.