Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Review on clinical trials of targeted treatments in malignant mesothelioma

  • Jan Nyrop JakobsenEmail author
  • Jens Benn Sørensen
Mini Review



Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive tumor of the serosal surfaces with a poor prognosis. Advances in the understanding of tumor biology have led to the development of several targeted treatments, which have been evaluated in clinical trials. This article is a comprehensive review of all clinical trials evaluating the effect of targeted treatments in MM.


An extensive literature search was performed in January 2011 using pubmed and medline. No constraints on publication date were applied.


Thirty-two trials exploring 17 different targeted agents in MM were found. Treatment in first- and second-line targeted agents induced response rates ranging from 0–14% and 0–16%, respectively. The tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib induced partial response in 10% and stable disease in 66% of MPM patients as second-line treatment. A preliminary analysis of a phase II/III trial suggests that addition of bevacizumab to pemetrexed and cisplatin first-line treatment significantly improves disease control (CR + PR + SD) in the bevacizumab arm (73.5%) compared with treatment with pemetrexed and cisplatin without bevacizumab (43.2%) (P = 0.010). Another phase II trial did not observe any significant clinical benefit of adding of bevacizumab to gemcitabine and cisplatin.


Disease stabilization is reported in some patients with several targeted treatments and might be beneficial in subgroups of patients or in combination with classic chemotherapy. None of the hitherto explored targeted treatments can currently be recommended as standard treatment in MM.


Malignant mesothelioma Malignant pleural mesothelioma Targeted treatments Tyrosine kinase inhibitors 



Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog


A member of the non-specific serine/threonine-protein kinase family


Anaplastic lymphoma kinase


Breakpoint cluster region


Cancer and leukemia group B


V-kit Hardy-Zuckerman 4 feline sarcoma viral oncogene homolog


Chronic myeloid leukemia


Complete response


Endothelial growth factor


Endothelial growth factor receptor


Echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4


Extrapleural pneumectomy


Fludeoxyglucose(18F) positron emission tomography


Gastrointestinal stromal tumor


Histone deacetylase


Histone deacetylase inhibitor


Interstitial fluid pressure


Insulin-like growth factor 1


Kinase insert domain receptor


Malignant mesothelioma


Malignant pleural mesothelioma


Mammalian target of rapamycin




Human tumor necrosis factor-alpha


Overall survival


Progression disease


Platelet derived growth factor


Platelet derived growth factor receptor




Progression free survival


Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase


Partial response


Ribonucleic acid




Stable disease


Tumor growth factor-alpha


Tyrosine kinase inhibitor


Vascular endothelial growth factor


Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OncologyFinsencentreCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.RigshospitaletCopenhagenDenmark

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