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Imjudo® (Tremelimumab) for Mesothelioma

Imjudo® (tremelimumab) for mesothelioma is an immunotherapy drug that can help the body kill cancer cells. Doctors are currently studying how tremelimumab fits into a larger mesothelioma treatment plan with other immunotherapies, surgery, and chemotherapy in clinical trials. Get help finding doctors who use immunotherapies like tremelimumab that may be able to help you live longer.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

What Is Tremelimumab Immunotherapy for Mesothelioma?

Tremelimumab, also known by its brand name Imjudo, is a promising new mesothelioma immunotherapy treatment.

It works by blocking a protein called cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4) found on T cells, which your immune system makes to fight cancer.

CTLA-4 helps T cells understand which cells are good and which are bad. However, mesothelioma cells can make proteins of their own and bind to CTLA-4 on T cells. This prevents the T cells from killing the cancer. Imjudo stops this from happening so your T cells can destroy mesothelioma cells.

Key Facts on Imjudo® (Tremelimumab) for Mesothelioma

  • Types of mesothelioma treated: Pleural mesothelioma and peritoneal mesothelioma
  • How it’s administered: Intravenous (IV) injection
  • When it’s used: Usually with other immunotherapy drugs like durvalumab (Imfinzi®), surgery, or chemotherapy in clinical trials
  • Common side effects: Body aches, coughing up blood, diarrhea, and sore throat

Download our Free Immunotherapy Guide to see how immunotherapy drugs like Imjudo could help you or a loved one live longer with mesothelioma.

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How Does Tremelimumab for Mesothelioma Work?

Imjudo belongs to a class of immunotherapy treatments called checkpoint inhibitors. Immune checkpoint inhibitors work by blocking specific proteins that mesothelioma cells use to avoid being killed by the body’s T cells.

Mesothelioma cells can bind a protein they make called B7 to the CTLA-4 protein on T cells. This signals to the T cells that the cancer shouldn’t be killed.

Imjudo acts as a CTLA-4 inhibitor, preventing mesothelioma cells from binding to the T cells so more of the cancer can be destroyed.

Did You Know?

A 2023 case report published in Thoracic Cancer noted that a mesothelioma patient lived over 10 years thanks to Imjudo, another immunotherapy called Opdivo® (nivolumab), and chemotherapy. At the time of the report’s publication, his cancer was stable and he had no symptoms.

How Imjudo Is Used to Treat Mesothelioma

Doctors are studying how Imjudo can improve survival in cases of pleural mesothelioma (which form in the lining of the lungs) and peritoneal mesothelioma (which develop in the abdomen lining) in clinical trials.

Many trials are looking at how Imjudo can fit into an overall mesothelioma treatment plan, with multiple therapies being used together to improve overall survival.

Doctors may use Imjudo along with:

  • Other immunotherapies: In many ongoing clinical trials, doctors use Imjudo alongside Imfinzi® (durvalumab). Imfinzi blocks another protein called PD-1, which mesothelioma cells use to hide from T cells.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin and pemetrexed circulate throughout the body to kill mesothelioma cancer cells.
  • Surgery: Imjudo can help shrink solid tumors so they’re more easily removed with mesothelioma surgery.

Doctors may use Imjudo as a first-line (initial) treatment or a second-line (follow-up) therapy if the cancer doesn’t respond to other treatments.

Contact us for free to get help accessing Imjudo and other mesothelioma immunotherapies that could help extend your life expectancy.

Benefits of Imjudo for Mesothelioma

Recent and ongoing research has shown that Imjudo can be very helpful for mesothelioma patients, inspiring hope for those looking for new treatment options.

Potential benefits of Imjudo include the following:

  • Longer survival: Many studies have shown that Imjudo could improve mesothelioma life expectancy, especially when used with other treatments. The NIBIT-MESO-1 trial found that patients had a median overall survival of 16.6 months when tremelimumab and durvalumab were used as a second-line treatment.
  • Fewer side effects than chemotherapy: Immunotherapy medications like Imjudo may cause fewer and less intense side effects than chemotherapy.
  • Available for free in clinical trials: Imjudo is currently only available in clinical trials, which you can join at no cost.

These promising developments with Imjudo offer new hope for mesothelioma patients seeking more effective treatment options.

Side Effects of Imjudo for Mesothelioma

You may experience different side effects while receiving Imjudo for mesothelioma. This is because your immune system may kill healthy cells along with cancer cells as part of the way Imjudo works.

Common side effects of Imjudo include:

  • Body aches
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Chills
  • Constipation
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Weight loss or gain

In rare cases, some patients have experienced severe adverse events, including pneumonia, colitis (inflamed bowels), meningitis (inflammation of brain/spinal cord tissue), or an allergic reaction, according to the Mayo Clinic.

If you take Imjudo, make sure to report any serious or sudden symptoms to your mesothelioma doctor as soon as possible.

What to Expect During Imjudo Treatment Sessions

While every mesothelioma patient’s treatment journey is different, there are some general steps to receive Imjudo treatments. Find out what to expect at each step in the process below.

1. Imjudo Infusions

Every 3-6 weeks, your provider will inject Imjudo through an IV. The infusion process typically takes about 30-90 minutes.

Did You Know?

Imjudo and other immunotherapy drugs for mesothelioma are usually given in cycles. This means you’ll receive an infusion and then have a rest period to allow your body to recover.

The specific dose and time between Imjudo infusions can vary depending on your treatment plan.

2. Monitoring of Cancer Response

As you receive Imjudo infusions, your doctor will order follow-up scans to see if the treatment is working. They will also ask if you’ve experienced any side effects or adverse events that need to be addressed.

Your medical team can adjust your mesothelioma treatment plan at any time to reduce side effects and make you more comfortable.

3. Continued Mesothelioma Treatment

The ultimate goals of using Imjudo are to help you live longer, ease symptoms, and destroy cancer.

If your cancer tumors are shrinking, you may continue to get Imjudo treatments. Your doctor can also recommend follow-up treatments if Imjudo doesn’t help.

Use our Free Doctor Match to find specialists who can help you access Imjudo and other mesothelioma treatments.

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Clinical Trials on Imjudo and Mesothelioma

Many recent and ongoing clinical trials have demonstrated how Imjudo has provided hope to mesothelioma patients across the country.

Some of the most notable Imjudo clinical trials include:

  • Baylor College of Medicine chemotherapy study: This ongoing trial is investigating if Imfinzi, Imjudo, and chemotherapy will improve survival compared to just using the two immunotherapy drugs. It is scheduled to have results in 2028.
  • Baylor College of Medicine surgery study: Results of this phase II trial, published in 2023, found that using durvalumab and tremelimumab before surgery helped malignant pleural mesothelioma patients live longer compared to those who just received Imfinzi.
  • NIBIT-MESO-1 study: Results of this trial, published in The Lancet, found that mesothelioma patients lived for 16.6 months on average when Imjudo and Imfinzi were used. The 3-year survival rate was 20%. Both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients were part of the study.
  • SMARTEST trial: Slated to be completed in 2028, this trial is studying the use of a drug called cyclophosphamide and radiation before mesothelioma surgery, followed by Imjudo and Imfinzi after surgery.

Mesothelioma doctors can help find clinical trials testing Imjudo or other immunotherapies that you may qualify to join.

How Much Does Imjudo Cost?

As of 2024, Imjudo is only available in clinical trials because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it as a mainstream mesothelioma treatment. Mesothelioma clinical trials for Imjudo are free to join.

However, each trial has its own specific set of criteria you need to meet in order to enroll. You may also have travel expenses if you don’t live near a cancer center conducting the trial, which could range upwards of several thousand dollars.

If you’re concerned about being able to access or afford treatment, Mesothelioma Hope can see if you qualify for financial assistance.

Download our Free Immunotherapy Guide now to learn more about how we can help.

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  • When it’s used
  • Types of therapies
  • What to expect

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Learn if Imjudo® (Tremelimumab) for Mesothelioma Is Right for You

If you have mesothelioma, immunotherapy drugs such as Imjudo could give you more time to make memories with loved ones and friends.

Ongoing trials continue to study how Imjudo could improve survival for patients with both pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.

Call (866) 608-8933 to speak with a Patient Advocate or use our Free Doctor Match service to find specialists near you.

Imjudo® (Tremelimumab) for Mesothelioma FAQs

What is tremelimumab used for?

Imjudo (tremelimumab) is used as a medical treatment for cancers like mesothelioma, which develops in the linings of major organs after asbestos exposure.

It works by blocking a specific protein called CTLA-4 that dampens the body’s immune response to cancer. With this protein blocked, the immune system is able to find and destroy cancer cells more effectively.

What is the life expectancy of someone with immunotherapy for mesothelioma?

The life expectancy for mesothelioma patients treated with the immunotherapy drugs Imfinzi and Imjudo was 16.6 months, according to results from the NIBIT-MESO-1 clinical trial.

Some patients could live even longer depending on how their cancer responds to Imjudo and other treatments.

For example, a 2023 Thoracic Cancer case study noted that a pleural mesothelioma patient lived more than a decade with the combination of Imjudo®, nivolumab (Opdivo®), and chemotherapy.

What is the success rate of immunotherapy for mesothelioma?

Clinical research suggests that Imjudo has an encouraging success rate for mesothelioma patients. This treatment can shrink tumors, kill cancer cells, and improve survival.

Call (866) 608-8933 to learn how immunotherapies like Imjudo could help you or a loved one live longer.

How do you know Imjudo is working?

Your doctor will take new imaging scans to see if your tumors are shrinking or have stopped growing.

If your cancer is responding well to treatment, you might start to feel less pain and discomfort, with symptoms like shortness of breath becoming more manageable.

Is tremelimumab FDA approved for mesothelioma?

No, tremelimumab is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat mesothelioma.

However, in 2022, the FDA approved tremelimumab along with durvalumab to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and inoperable liver cancer tumors.

As more clinical trials continue to study how tremelimumab can help mesothelioma patients, it may receive FDA approval as a mainstream treatment at some point in the future.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

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  1. American Cancer Society. (2021, September 13). Immunotherapy for Malignant Mesothelioma. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  2. Baylor College of Medicine. (2024, January 16). Neoadjuvant Durvalumab and Tremelimumab With and Without Chemotherapy for Mesothelioma. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  3. Calabro, L., et al. (2021, April 9). Tremelimumab plus durvalumab retreatment and 4-year outcomes in patients with mesothelioma: a follow-up of the open label, non-randomised, phase 2 NIBIT-MESO-1 study. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  4. Cedres, S., et al. (2023, December 10). Current State-of-the-Art Therapy for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma and Future Options Centered on Immunotherapy. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  5. Cerbone, L. et al. (2023, January 04). Unprecedented long-term survival in a patient with malignant pleural mesothelioma treated with subsequent systemic chemo- and immunotherapeutic regimens. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  6. Lee, H., et al. (2023, February 1). A Phase II Window of Opportunity Study of Neoadjuvant PD-L1 versus PD-L1 plus CTLA-4 Blockade for Patients with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  7. Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Tremelimumab-Actl (Intravenous Route). Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  8. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). CTLA-4. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  9. National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Durvalumab. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  10. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2022, November 18). FDA approves tremelimumab in combination with durvalumab and platinum-based chemotherapy for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
  11. University Health Network, Toronto. (2023, December 14). SMARTEST Trial. Retrieved June 7, 2024, from
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