Malignant pleural mesothelioma clinically manifests after decades of initial exposure to etiologic agents, such as asbestos, and presents with nonspecific symptoms such as dyspnea, pain, or weight loss. In patients with limited, resectable disease, surgical therapy with extrapleural pneumonectomy or pleurectomy is recommended, although, it is unclear which approach is superior. Radiation has a limited role and is used primarily for palliation. The palliative efficacy of traditional chemotherapeutic agents and combination regimens is modest at best. The combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed, a novel multitargeted antifolate agent, is the approved "standard of care" for patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma. A number of molecularly targeted agents are currently under evaluation for mesothelioma such as the Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors that have demonstrated promising anticancer activity. Vorinostat, a small molecule inhibitor of HDAC, which targets select members of class I and II HDACs, has shown early evidence of activity and is currently being evaluated in a randomized study for patients who progress with standard therapy for advanced mesothelioma. It is hoped that the HDAC inhibitors and other novel targeted agents will pave the way for improved outcomes for patients with this disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine