Radio-immunotherapy and chemo-immunotherapy as a novel treatment paradigm in malignant pleural mesothelioma
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive neoplasm with poor outcome. Novel radical radiation techniques using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) have become an important component of therapy in mesothelioma. Immunotherapy also provides new therapeutic options. However, how best to integrate immunotherapy with standard therapy such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery remains unknown. A change of paradigm from adjuvant normofractionation to induction accelerated hypofractionated hemithoracic radiation could provide a platform to combine immunotherapy due to the potential benefit of short course high dose radiation on the immune system. Immunotherapy can also be combined with chemotherapy. Although chemotherapy is generally considered immunosuppressive, some chemotherapeutic agents do induce cell death that can be immunogenic and stimulate a specific immune response against the tumor. Immunotherapy could also be used in between cycles of chemotherapy to limit tumor cell repopulation and optimize the results of both treatments. The integration of immunotherapy into a multimodality approach is opening new avenue of treatment for mesothelioma.