Immunotherapy approaches for malignant pleural mesothelioma

Nature Reviews. Clinical Oncology. 2022 July 1 [Link]

Dean A Fennell, Sean Dulloo, James Harber


Over the past decade, immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized the treatment of cancer. In mesothelioma, a rare cancer with a dismal prognosis generally caused by exposure to asbestos, treatment with single or dual ICIs results in robust improvements in overall survival over previous standard-of-care therapies, both in the first-line and relapsed disease settings. Predictive biological features that underpin response to ICIs remain poorly understood; however, insights into the immune microenvironment and genomic landscape of mesothelioma as well as into their association with response or acquired resistance to ICIs are emerging. Several studies of rational combinations involving ICIs with either another ICI or a different agent are ongoing, with emerging evidence of synergistic antitumour activity. Non-ICI-based immunotherapies, such as peptide-based vaccines and mesothelin-targeted chimeric antigen receptor T cells, have demonstrated promising efficacy. Moreover, results from pivotal trials of dendritic cell vaccines and viral cytokine delivery, among others, are eagerly awaited. In this Review, we comprehensively summarize the key steps in the development of immunotherapies for mesothelioma, focusing on strategies that have led to randomized clinical evaluation and emerging predictors of response. We then forecast the future treatment opportunities that could arise from ongoing research.