Frontiers in Oncology 2020 February 21 [Link]

de Gooijer CJ, Borm FJ, Scherpereel A, Baas P


The only registered systemic treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is platinum based chemotherapy combined with pemetrexed, with or without bevacizumab. Immunotherapy did seem active in small phase II trials. In this review, we will highlight the most important immunotherapy-based research performed and put a focus on the future of MPM. PD-(L)1 inhibitors show response rates between 10 and 29% in phase II trials, with a wide range in progression free (PFS) and overall survival (OS). However, single agent pembrolizumab was not superior to chemotherapy (gemcitabine or vinorelbine) in the recent published PROMISE-Meso trial in pre-treated patients. In small studies with CTLA-4 inhibitors there is evidence for response in some patients, but it fails to show a better PFS and OS compared to best supportive care in a randomized study. A combination of PD-(L)1 inhibitor with CTLA-4 inhibitor seem to have a similar response as PD-(L)1 monotherapy. The first results of combining durvalumab (PD-L1 blocking) with cisplatin-pemetrexed in the first line are promising. Another immune treatment is Dendritic Cell (DC) immunotherapy, which is recently tested in mesothelioma, shows remarkable anti-tumor activity in three clinical studies. The value of single agent checkpoint inhibitors is limited in MPM. There is an urgent need for biomarkers to select the optimal candidates for immunotherapy among MPM patients in terms of efficacy and tolerance. Results of combination checkpoint inhibitors with chemotherapy are awaiting.