Novel and Future Treatment Options in Mesothelioma: A Systematic Review

International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2022 February 10 [Link]

Danijela Štrbac, Vita Dolžan


Mesothelioma is a rare tumor, frequently associated with asbestos exposure, arising from pleura and peritoneum. Traditionally, diagnosis and treatment have been difficult in a clinical setting. The treatment is based on a trimodal approach involving surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. The introduction of chemotherapy improved the overall survival. However, the regimen of pemetrexed/cisplatin doublet has not been changed as a standard treatment since 2004. Novel combinations of ipilimumab and nivolumab have only been approved for clinical use in late 2020. The aim of this review was to systematically summarize findings on novel treatment options in mesothelioma. We searched available medical databases online, such as PubMed and, to systematically review the literature on novel approaches in immunotherapy, vaccines, and Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy in mesothelioma. We manually screened 1127 articles on PubMed and 450 trials on, and 24 papers and 12 clinical trials published in the last ten years were included in this review. Immunotherapy that was swiftly introduced to treat other thoracic malignancies was slow to reach desirable survival endpoints in mesothelioma, possibly due to limited patient numbers. Novel treatment approaches, such as CAR-T cell therapy, are being investigated. As the incidence of mesothelioma is still rising globally, novel treatment options based on a better understanding of the tumor microenvironment and the genetic drivers that modulate it are needed to support future precision-based therapies.