Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly aggressive cancer with limited therapy options and dismal prognosis. In recent years, the role of immune cells within the tumor microenvironment (TME) has become a major area of interest. In this review, we discuss the current knowledge of heterogeneity in immune cell content and checkpoint expression in MPM in relation to prognosis and prediction of treatment efficacy. Generally, immune-suppressive cells such as M2 macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T cells are present within the TME, with extensive heterogeneity in cell numbers. Infiltration of effector cells such as cytotoxic T cells, natural killer cells and T helper cells is commonly found, also with substantial patient to patient heterogeneity. PD-L1 expression also varied greatly (16-65%). The infiltration of immune cells in tumor and associated stroma holds key prognostic and predictive implications. As such, there is a strong rationale for thoroughly mapping the TME to better target therapy in mesothelioma. Researchers should be aware of the extensive possibilities that exist for a tumor to evade the cytotoxic killing from the immune system. Therefore, no “one size fits all” treatment is likely to be found and focus should lie on the heterogeneity of the tumors and TME.

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International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Minnema-Luiting, J. (Jorien), Vroman, H., Aerts, J., & Cornelissen, R. (2018). Heterogeneity in immune cell content in malignant pleural mesothelioma. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Vol. 19). doi:10.3390/ijms19041041