Promising New Second-Line Treatment for Mesothelioma

Promising New Second-Line Treatment for Mesothelioma
Tislelizumab combined with anlotinib may be a promising new second-line treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Tislelizumab combined with anlotinib may be a promising new second-line treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma.

A mesothelioma patient in China was successfully treated with these drugs in 2021. The patient has survived for 10 months on this treatment.

First-Line Treatments

Malignant pleural mesothelioma develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and chest wall. It is caused by exposure to asbestos.

A healthy pleura is thin and flexible and expands to accommodate the lungs during respiration. In a person with mesothelioma, this membrane becomes thick and stiff, constricting the lungs and causing shortness of breath.

First-line treatment for mesothelioma may be chemotherapy, radiation, or therapy. Depending on the health of the patient, more than one treatment might be used against mesothelioma.

When one of these first-line treatments do not work, doctors must try something else. There is not a widely accepted second-line treatment for mesothelioma.

This study looked at the use of an immune checkpoint inhibitor as a second-line treatment for a mesothelioma patient. This drug is called tislelizumab. It works by blocking the action of PD-1, a protein that mesothelioma cells use to protect themselves.

Some studies have already shown promising results for using immune checkpoint inhibitors as a second-line treatment for mesothelioma.

When Chemotherapy is Unsuccessful

The patient in this study was a 59-year-old man. He went to the hospital in April 2021 for help with a cough and shortness of breath. A chest CT scan and ultrasound-guided biopsy showed that he had malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The patient’s doctors tried chemotherapy treatment which was unsuccessful. The patient was in pain and suffering from anemia while the cancerous tissue spread.

After six months of chemotherapy, the doctor’s tried a second-line treatment of tislelizumab and anlotinib. After about two months of this treatment, the patient’s chest pain and anemia were improved.

Three months of this second-line treatment led to shrinking of the mesothelioma tumors. These positive results have continued for at least 10 months. The study author’s are optimistic about these results, stating that this “markedly exceeds the existing second-line scheme in contemporary researches”.


Zhang D, Liang J, Lv Y, Huang X, Guo W. Tislelizumab combined with anlotinib in the second-line treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Medicine (Baltimore). 2022;101(52):e32459. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000032459.

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