Malignant pleural mesothelioma, a uniformly fatal cancer caused by prior asbestos exposure, places a major burden on society. The MesoVATS trial was a multicenter randomized controlled trial that examined the role of video-assisted thoracoscopic partial pleurectomy (VAT-PP) versus talc pleurodesis in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Overall there was no difference in survival between VAT-PP and talc pleurodesis. VAT-PP resulted in more complications, longer hospital stay and was more expensive. However, there was some evidence that VAT-PP improved EQ5D measured quality of life after 6 months particularly in the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer low-risk subgroup. At present the future role of VAT-PP is uncertain and may merit further investigation but this should be within the context of clinical trials. VAT-PP may also have a role to play in the specific situation of trapped lung.