Introduction: Malignant mesothelioma is a rare and lethal malignancy primarily affecting the pleura and peritoneum. Mesothelioma incidence is expected to increase worldwide and current treatments remain ineffective, leading to poor prognosis. Within this article potential targets to improve the quality of life of the patients and assessment of further avenues for research are discussed. Areas covered: This review highlights emerging therapies currently under investigation for malignant mesothelioma with a specific focus on phase I and phase II clinical trials. Three main areas are discussed: immunotherapy (immune checkpoint blockade and cancer vaccines, among others), multitargeted therapy (such as targeting pro-angiogenic genes) and gene therapy (such as suicide gene therapy). For each, clinical trials are described to detail the current or past investigations at phase I and II. Expert opinion: The approach of applying existing treatments from other cancers does not show significant benefit, with the most promising outcome being an increase in survival of 2.7 months following combination of chemotherapy with bevacizumab. It is our opinion that the hypoxic microenvironment, the role of the stroma, and the metabolic status of mesothelioma should all be assessed and characterised to aid in the development of new treatments to improve patient outcomes.
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