Current and prospective pharmacotherapies for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma

Bakker, Emyr orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0091-1029, Guazzelli, Alice, Krstic-Demonacos, Marija, Sotgia, Federica, Lisanti, Michael and Mutti, Luciano (2017) Current and prospective pharmacotherapies for the treatment of pleural mesothelioma. Expert Opinion on Orphan Drugs, 5 (6). pp. 455-465.

[thumbnail of Author Accepted Manuscript]
PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL:


Introduction: Mesothelioma is a rare asbestos-linked cancer with an expected incidence peak between 2015–2030. Therapies remain ineffective, thus developing and testing novel treatments is important for both oncologists and researchers.

Areas covered: After describing mesothelioma and the shortcomings of current therapies, the article discusses numerous therapies in turn such as immunotherapy (passive and active), gene therapy (such as suicide gene therapy) and targeted therapy such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The bases for different therapies and clinical trials at different phases are also described. The article concludes by detailing possible reasons for therapy failure.

Expert opinion: Despite the many attempts to uncover new therapeutic options, mesothelioma is still an orphan disease, complicated by factors such as the inflammatory microenvironment and low mutational load. Our opinion is that uncovering the biological mechanisms behind mesothelioma development will assist therapy development. The lack of efficacy of tyrosine kinase inhibitors and modest anti-angiogenic activity indicates a less relevant role for tumor cell proliferation and neoangiogenesis, thus the shortcut of treating mesothelioma with therapies from other cancers may be unsound. Conversely, many lines of evidence indicate that focussing on the survival mechanisms that tumor cells exploit may yield better therapeutics, particularly nutrition and cellular machinery.

Repository Staff Only: item control page