Multimodality treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

F1000Research 2018 October 22 [Link]

Berzenji L, Van Schil P


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare disease of the pleura and is largely related to asbestos exposure. Despite recent advancements in technologies and a greater understanding of the disease, the prognosis of MPM remains poor; the median overall survival rate is about 6 to 9 months in untreated patients. The main therapeutic strategies for MPM are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy (RT). The two main surgical approaches for MPM are extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP), in which the lung is removed en bloc, and pleurectomy/decortication, in which the lung stays in situ. Chemotherapy usually consists of a platinum-based chemotherapy, such as cisplatin, often combined with a folate antimetabolite, such as pemetrexed. More recently, immunotherapy has emerged as a possible therapeutic strategy for MPM. Evidence suggests that single-modality treatments are not an effective therapeutic approach for MPM. Therefore, researchers have started to explore different multimodality treatment approaches, in which often combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and RT are investigated. There is still no definitive answer to the question of which multimodality treatment combinations are most effective in improving the poor prognosis of MPM. Research into the effects of trimodality treatment approaches have found that radical approaches such as EPP and hemithoracic RT post-EPP are less effective than was previously assumed. In general, there are still a great number of unanswered questions and unknown factors regarding the ideal treatment approach for MPM. Hopefully, more research into multimodality therapy will provide insight into which combination of treatment modalities is most effective.