An overview of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in the multimodality treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma

G. Pasello, G. L. Ceresoli, A. Favaretto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumour with poor prognosis and increasing incidence in industrialized countries because of the previous widespread exposure to asbestos fibres and to the long lag period from time of exposure and the diagnosis of the disease. MPM shows high refractoriety to systemic treatment, single-modality treatment was generally ineffective and did not achieve higher results than supportive care. The incidence of local and distant recurrences after surgery remains high and that was the reason for many centres to perform combined treatments. In the attempt of reducing the incidence of local recurrences, a multimodality approach with surgery followed by adjuvant radiotherapy was explored. Extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) allows higher doses of radiotherapy to the whole hemithorax by avoiding pulmonary toxicity and the results of this approach is a significant reduction of loco-regional relapses; although, extrathoracic metastasis represent a major problem in the management of the disease because of the impact on overall survival. The success with surgical resection after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in stage IIIA lung cancer has been the impetus for several groups to apply this strategy in MPM aiming at reducing the incidence of distant relapse after surgery. Platinum-based chemotherapy plus gemcitabine or pemetrexed for 3-4 cycles followed by surgery and postoperative high-dose radiotherapy showed the best results in terms of overall and progression free survival. This review will focus on the main clinical studies and overview the results of different chemotherapy regimens in the neoadjuvant treatment of MPM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Treatment Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Malignant pleural mesothelioma
  • Multimodality treatment
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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