Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumor of the pleura with a poor prognosis. The most active first-line regimens are platinum compounds and pemetrexed. There is no standard second-line treatment in MPM. Advances in the understanding of tumor molecular biology have led to the development of several targeted treatments, which have been evaluated in clinical trials. Unfortunately none of the explored targeted treatments can currently be recommended as routine treatment in MPM. We reviewed the biological pathways involved in MPM, the clinical trials about targeted therapy, and possible related mechanisms of resistance. We suggest that specific genetic markers are needed as targets of selective therapy. By this way the selection of patients based on the molecular profile may facilitate a therapeutic strategy that allows the use of the most appropriate drug for each patient.