bims-mesote Biomed News
on Mesothelioma
Issue of 2021‒01‒31
thirteen papers selected by
Laura Mannarino
Mario Negri Institute

  1. Cancer Cytopathol. 2021 Jan 25.
      BACKGROUND: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is characterized by mutations in several genes, including cyclin-dependent kinase-inhibitor 2A/p16 in the 9p21 locus, BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1), and neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) in the 22q12 locus. Recent studies indicate that fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) detects hemizygous loss of NF2 in tissue specimens of MPM. The authors investigated whether NF2 FISH, either alone or in combination with other diagnostic assays (9p21 FISH, methylthioadenosine phosphorylase [MTAP] immunohistochemistry [IHC], and BAP1 IHC), effectively distinguishes MPM cells from reactive mesothelial cells (RMCs) in cell blocks prepared from pleural effusions.METHODS: FISH assays were used to examine the deletion status of NF2 and 9p21, and IHC was used to determine the expression of MTAP and BAP1 in cell blocks from 54 cases with MPM and 18 cases with RMCs.
    RESULTS: Hemizygous NF2 loss (chromosome 22 monosomy or hemizygous deletion) showed 51.9% sensitivity (48.1% for chromosome 22 monosomy and 3.7% for hemizygous deletion) and 100% specificity in differentiating MPM cells from RMCs. Combinations of NF2 FISH, 9p21 FISH, and BAP1 IHC assays yielded greater sensitivity (98.1%) than any assay alone (9p21 FISH, 61.1%; MTAP IHC, 52.8%; or BAP1 IHC, 60.4%). The level of hemizygous NF2 loss in cell blocks positively correlated with that in corresponding tissues. Furthermore, to overcome cytologic specimen-specific challenges, FISH combined with cytokeratin AE1/AE3 immunofluorescence was necessary in 25.9% of MPM cases for FISH assessment of predominantly scattered MPM cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: NF2 FISH alone or in combination with other diagnostic assays effectively differentiates MPM cells from RMCs in cell blocks prepared from pleural effusions.
    Keywords:  fluorescence in situ hybridization; immunohistochemistry; mesothelioma; methylthioadenosine phosphorylase; neurofibromatosis type 2; pleural effusion cytology; reactive mesothelial cells
  2. Acta Oncol. 2021 Jan 27. 1-7
      BACKGROUND: This study aims to investigate patient- and disease characteristics associated with survival in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients with anti-tumor treatment or with best supportive care (BSC).MATERIALS AND METHODS: Consecutive MPM cases diagnosed in North Denmark Region from 1972 to 2015 were reevaluated and verified by two pathologists using modern immunohistochemical techniques. Danish registries and hospital records were used to gather patient-, asbestos exposure-, and disease information.
    RESULTS: Of the 279 patients, anti-tumor treatment was administered to 184 patients (66.0%). All of those received chemotherapy alone or as part of a multimodal treatment, where pemetrexed was given to 126 (68.5%) patients. Asbestos exposure was documented in 92.5% of all patients. In the treated group, mean age was lower (66 years versus 74 years, p < 0.01), rate of occupational asbestos exposure was higher (74.5 versus 54.7%, p < 0.01), more patients had better performance score (98.4 versus 60%, p < 0.01) and stage was lower (81 versus 63.2%, p < 0.01) compared to the BSC group. Multivariate analysis showed that epithelioid subtype was the only common prognostic factor for OS in both groups. In BSC patients, good PS and female gender was associated with improved OS. Median overall survival (OS) was 17 versus 4 months (p < 0.01), and independently of the histopathological subtype, the median and 2-year survival was higher in the treated versus the BSC group (p < 0.02).
    CONCLUSIONS: This retrospective study showed that epithelioid subtype is the only independent positive prognostic factor of survival in treated patients with MPM. For BSC patients, the epithelioid subtype, good PS, and female gender were positive prognostic factors, while age and comorbidities were not significant. This study with long-term follow-up of treated and BSC MPM patients can contribute to the clinical stratification of patients. Further validation is appropriate to verify these findings.
    Keywords:  Malignant pleural mesothelioma; asbestos exposure; chemotherapy; overall survival; prognosis; supportive care; surgery
  3. Pleura Peritoneum. 2020 Dec;6(1): 20200144
      Objectives: The National Mesothelioma Audit 2020 showed Northumbria to have low rates of histopathological confirmation, treatment and one-year survival rates for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). We hypothesized that an internal analysis over a 10-year period provides valuable insights into presentation, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes.Methods: A single-centre retrospective case series of all confirmed MPM patients between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2019 was performed. Demographics, clinical, radiological and histopathological characteristics and outcomes were collected. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS V26.0.
    Results: A total of 247 patients had MPM. About 86% were male, mean age 75.7 years. Dyspnoea (77.4%) and chest pain (38.5%) were commonest symptoms. 64.9 and 71.4% had pleural thickening and effusion, respectively. About 86.8% had at least one attempt to obtain a tissue biopsy, but histopathological confirmation in only 108 (43.7%). About 66.3% with PS 0 and 1 (62.7% of total cohort) had at least one anti-cancer therapy. Death within 12 months was associated with disease progression within 6 months (p≤0.001). Chemotherapy (p≤0.001) and epithelioid histological subtype (p=0.01) were protective.
    Conclusions: This study confirms known epidemiology of MPM, demonstrates variability in practices and highlights how some NMA recommendations are not met. This provides the incentive for a regional mesothelioma multi-disciplinary meeting.
    Keywords:  epithelioid; mesothelioma; pleural
  4. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Jan 22. pii: 416. [Epub ahead of print]13(3):
      Increased hyaluronic acid (HA) production is often associated with cancer progression. In malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), HA is found at elevated levels in pleural effusions and sera of patients, and it has been widely debated whether MPM cells are able to produce HA by themselves or through the release of growth factors stimulating other cells. Another key component of the MPM microenvironment is C1q, which can act as a pro-tumorigenic factor favoring cell adhesion, migration and proliferation. The aim of the current study was to prove that MPM primary cells are able to synthesize HA and to inquire the stimulus given by C1q-HA matrix to HA synthesis. We confirmed the presence of a HA coat and cable-like structures around MPM primary cells, as well as an intracellular pool, mainly localized in the cytoplasmic and perinuclear region. After evaluating HA synthase (HAS) enzymes' basal expression in MPM primary cells, we found that C1q bound to HA was able to impinge upon HA homeostasis by upregulating HAS3 both at the mRNA and the protein levels. High expression of HAS3 has been correlated with a shorter life expectancy in MPM by bioinformatical analysis. These data confirmed that C1q bound to HA may exert pro-tumorigenic activity and identified HAS3 as a potential target in MPM.
    Keywords:  C1q; HAS3; cancer; complement system; hyaluronan synthases; hyaluronic acid; immune system; malignant pleural mesothelioma; tumor microenvironment
  5. Lancet. 2021 Jan 21. pii: S0140-6736(20)32714-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      BACKGROUND: Approved systemic treatments for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) have been limited to chemotherapy regimens that have moderate survival benefit with poor outcomes. Nivolumab plus ipilimumab has shown clinical benefit in other tumour types, including first-line non-small-cell lung cancer. We hypothesised that this regimen would improve overall survival in MPM.METHODS: This open-label, randomised, phase 3 study (CheckMate 743) was run at 103 hospitals across 21 countries. Eligible individuals were aged 18 years and older, with previously untreated, histologically confirmed unresectable MPM, and an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1. Eligible participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to nivolumab (3 mg/kg intravenously once every 2 weeks) plus ipilimumab (1 mg/kg intravenously once every 6 weeks) for up to 2 years, or platinum plus pemetrexed chemotherapy (pemetrexed [500 mg/m2 intravenously] plus cisplatin [75 mg/m2 intravenously] or carboplatin [area under the concentration-time curve 5 mg/mL per min intravenously]) once every 3 weeks for up to six cycles. The primary endpoint was overall survival among all participants randomly assigned to treatment, and safety was assessed in all participants who received at least one dose of study treatment. This study is registered with, NCT02899299, and is closed to accrual.
    FINDINGS: Between Nov 29, 2016, and April 28, 2018, 713 patients were enrolled, of whom 605 were randomly assigned to either nivolumab plus ipilimumab (n=303) or chemotherapy (n=302). 467 (77%) of 605 participants were male and median age was 69 years (IQR 64-75). At the prespecified interim analysis (database lock April 3, 2020; median follow-up of 29·7 months [IQR 26·7-32·9]), nivolumab plus ipilimumab significantly extended overall survival versus chemotherapy (median overall survival 18·1 months [95% CI 16·8-21·4] vs 14·1 months [12·4-16·2]; hazard ratio 0·74 [96·6% CI 0·60-0·91]; p=0·0020). 2-year overall survival rates were 41% (95% CI 35·1-46·5) in the nivolumab plus ipilimumab group and 27% (21·9-32·4) in the chemotherapy group. Grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events were reported in 91 (30%) of 300 patients treated with nivolumab plus ipilimumab and 91 (32%) of 284 treated with chemotherapy. Three (1%) treatment-related deaths occurred in the nivolumab plus ipilimumab group (pneumonitis, encephalitis, and heart failure) and one (<1%) in the chemotherapy group (myelosuppression).
    INTERPRETATION: Nivolumab plus ipilimumab provided significant and clinically meaningful improvements in overall survival versus standard-of-care chemotherapy, supporting the use of this first-in-class regimen that has been approved in the USA as of October, 2020, for previously untreated unresectable MPM.
    FUNDING: Bristol Myers Squibb.
  6. Cancer Cytopathol. 2021 Jan 25.
      BACKGROUND: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a therapy-resistant tumor, often causing an effusion. Drugs targeting the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway have shown promising results, but assessment of PD-L1 expression to select patients for therapy has mainly been performed on histologic tissue samples. In a previous study, we showed that MM effusions are suitable for PD-L1 assessment with results comparable to those reported in histologic studies, but no studies have compared PD-L1 expression in histologic and cytologic samples.METHODS: PD-L1 expression was determined immunohistochemically (clone 28-8) in 61 paired samples of effusions and biopsies from patients with pleural MM, obtained at the time of diagnosis. Only cases with >100 tumor cells were included. Membranous staining in tumor cells was considered positive at ≥1%, >5%, >10%, and >50% cutoff levels.
    RESULTS: Of 61 histologic samples, PD-L1 expression was found in 28 and 7 samples at ≥1% and >50% cutoffs, respectively; the corresponding figures for cytology were 21 and 5, respectively. The overall percentage agreement between histology and cytology was 69% and 84%, with a kappa (κ) of 0.36 and 0.08 at ≥1% and >50% cutoffs, respectively. The concordance between cytology and histology tended to be higher for epithelioid MM versus nonepithelioid MM at a ≥1% cutoff. PD-L1 positivity in biopsies, but not in effusions, correlated with the histologic subtype at a ≥1% cutoff.
    CONCLUSIONS: A moderate concordance of PD-L1 expression between biopsies and effusions from pleural MM, especially for the epithelioid subtype, indicates biological differences between the 2 types of specimens. Cytology and histology may be complementary.
    Keywords:  cell block; clone 28-8; cytology; histology; immunohistochemistry
  7. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 20. pii: E875. [Epub ahead of print]18(3):
      The use of asbestos has been banned since 2009 in South Korea. However, there is still a risk of exposure to environmental asbestos originating from abandoned asbestos mines. We constructed a retrospective dynamic cohort using the National Health Insurance Database of South Korea. We determined the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) among residents living near asbestos mines compared with those living in the control area and the general population. The risks of asbestosis (adjusted hazards ratio [HR] 65.40, 95% CI = 35.02-122.12) and pleural plaques (adjusted HR 3.55, 95% CI = 1.96-6.41) were significantly increased among residents living near the asbestos mines compared with the control area. The risk of malignant mesothelioma was increased near asbestos mines compared with the control area; however, it was not significant (adjusted HR 1.83, 95% CI = 0.61-5.47). When a separate analysis according to sex was conducted, the risk of mesothelioma among male residents was statistically significant (adjusted HR 8.30, 95% CI = 1.04-66.63), and the standardized incidence ratio (SIR) was significantly increased (SIR 3.48, 95% CI = 1.50-6.85). The risk of ARDs was increased due to environmental asbestos exposure near abandoned asbestos mines in South Korea.
    Keywords:  asbestos; asbestos mine; asbestos-related disease; big data; cohort study; environmental exposure; non-occupational exposure
  8. Recent Pat Anticancer Drug Discov. 2021 Jan 19.
      BACKGROUND: Pemetrexed is a folate analogue metabolic inhibitor for mammalian cells. Pemetrexed is established to be toxic to several cancer cells by interfering with their new biosynthesis of nucleotides and thus causing cell apoptosis. Presently, Pemetrexed is given to patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).OBJECTIVE: This review focuses on the recent patents of Pemetrexed. This assessment includes patents grouped in segments like crystalline form patent, composition related patents, product patents, as well as a method of treatment. The aim of this review is to simplify inventors with altogether existing patents at a single place.
    METHODS: Data were searched from several available databases. In which, paid databases include Orbit® and SciFinder®. Free databases include Worldwide Espacenet® (EPO), Patentscope® (WIPO), InPASS (Indian patent database) and Google Patents.
    RESULTS: Some new polymorph and composition related inventions of Pemetrexed have been recently patented as its orange-book listed patents will soon expire in May 2022. Further, because of the problem of oxidation through the development and continuing storage of Pemetrexed composition, several excipients are experimented within these patents to stabilize the same. Nevertheless, there is a need for further development of an improved composition of Pemetrexed with improved characteristics.
    CONCLUSION: Wide research has been conducted on different processes for preparing Pemetrexed and formulation thereof. Such type of active research may clear the track for the generic companies in the United States which produces in the reduction of the price of the formulation and hence, providing universal health care at economic prices.
    Keywords:  ALIMTA; anticancer; cancer therapy; composition; malignant pleural mesothelioma; oncology; patent; pemetrexed.
  9. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2021 Feb 01. 145(2): 208-213
      CONTEXT.—: Distinguishing pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma from pleural sarcomatoid mesothelioma is challenging because of overlapping histology, immunophenotype, and clinical features. Reliable immunohistochemical markers to aid in this distinction would be very valuable. Recent studies have proposed that MUC4 expression is common in sarcomatoid carcinoma but not in sarcomatoid mesothelioma, with the converse pattern reported for GATA3.OBJECTIVE.—: To further explore the utility of MUC4 and GATA3 in distinguishing pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma from sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
    DESIGN.—: Well-characterized cases of sarcomatoid carcinoma (n = 32) and sarcomatoid mesothelioma (n = 64) were included. Diagnoses were confirmed by thoracic pathologists with incorporation of immunophenotype, clinical, and radiographic features. Whole-tissue sections were stained for GATA3 and MUC4.
    RESULTS.—: Patients with sarcomatoid carcinoma and sarcomatoid mesothelioma had similar mean age and male predominance. GATA3 was positive in 63 of 64 sarcomatoid mesotheliomas (98%; 42 diffuse, 16 patchy, 5 focal), and 15 of 32 sarcomatoid carcinomas (47%; 3 diffuse, 8 patchy, 4 focal). MUC4 was positive in 2 of 64 sarcomatoid mesotheliomas (3%; 1 patchy, 1 focal), and in 12 of 32 sarcomatoid carcinomas (38%; 5 diffuse, 6 patchy, 1 focal).
    CONCLUSIONS.—: Diffuse GATA3 expression favors sarcomatoid mesothelioma over sarcomatoid carcinoma, which rarely shows diffuse expression (sensitivity and specificity of diffuse staining 66% and 94%, respectively). Focal and patchy GATA3 expression is observed in both tumor types, and therefore is not helpful in this distinction. Sensitivity of MUC4 for sarcomatoid carcinoma was low in our cohort, positive in only 38% with frequent patchy staining, but it was quite specific.
  10. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2020 Dec 13. pii: S0022-5223(20)33337-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      OBJECTIVE: The mainstay of treatment for patients with malignant pleural disease is fluid drainage and systemic therapy. A tumor-specific oncolytic virus or T-cell-activating interleukin-2 immunotherapy may provide an opportunity for local control. We previously developed a vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2, an oncolytic virus that mediated tumor regression in preclinical peritoneal tumor models with expansion of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. We evaluated the antitumor efficacy and immune modulatory effects of vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2 in malignant pleural disease.METHODS: A murine model of malignant pleural disease was established with percutaneous intrapleural deposition of the Lewis lung carcinoma cell line and monitored with bioluminescent imaging. After intrapleural or systemic administration of vaccinia viruses (vaccinia virus yellow fluorescent protein control, vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2), systemic anti-programmed cell death-1 antibody, or combination therapy (vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2 and anti-programmed cell death-1), tumor mass, immune cell infiltration, T-cell receptor diversity, and survival were assessed.
    RESULTS: Intrapleural vaccinia virus resulted in significant tumor regression compared with phosphate-buffered saline control (P < .05). Inclusion of the interleukin-2 transgene further increased intratumoral CD8+ T cells (P < .01) and programmed cell death-1 expression on CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (P < .001). Intrapleural vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2 was superior to systemic vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2, with reduced tumor burden (P < .0001) and improved survival (P < .05). Intrapleural vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2 alone or combined treatment with systemic anti-programmed cell death-1 reduced tumor burden (P < .01), improved survival (P < .01), and increased intratumoral αβ T-cell receptor diversity (P < .05) compared with systemic anti-programmed cell death-1 monotherapy.
    CONCLUSIONS: Intrapleural vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2 reduced tumor burden and enhanced survival in a murine malignant pleural disease model. Increased CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and αβ T-cell receptor diversity are associated with enhanced response. Clinical trials will enable assessment of intrapleural vaccinia virus-expressing interleukin-2 therapy in patients with malignant pleural disease.
    Keywords:  IL-2; PD-1; immunotherapy; intrapleural therapy; malignant pleural disease; malignant pleural effusion; metastatic lung cancer; oncolytic virotherapy; vaccinia virus
  11. J Thorac Oncol. 2021 Feb;pii: S1556-0864(20)31092-3. [Epub ahead of print]16(2): 187-190
  12. Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2021 Jan 26. pii: ivaa338. [Epub ahead of print]
      A best evidence topic was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was: In patients with mesothelioma who develop a local recurrence after macroscopic complete resection (MCR) surgery, does performing a second radical surgery lead to improvement in survival? A total of 2076 papers were identified using the reported search, of which 3 represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The authors, date, journal, country, study type, population, outcomes and key results are tabulated. The 2 largest studies included 16 patients each who underwent a second surgery for radical resection of recurrence after MCR for mesothelioma. One study (with 16 chest wall resections) had no in-hospital mortality, whereas the other study showed 2/16 (12.5%) patients dying in the hospital, both of whom had a contralateral pleurectomy. One study correlated the median survival after the second surgery with the time to recurrence and epithelioid pathology. The other study showed better post-recurrence survival after a second surgery, with patients having a significantly longer median post-recurrence survival (16 months) compared with those who received other types of second-line therapy (9 months) and those who received no therapy at all (2 months) (P < 0.0005), although selection bias is a possibility. The last study included 8 patients who underwent a second surgery for radical intent after MCR for mesothelioma. The median time to recurrence was 29 months and the survival after second surgery was 14.5 months with no correlation to disease-free interval (expected due to the small number of patients). In patients presenting with recurrence of mesothelioma after an MCR procedure, radical surgery to resect the recurrent tumour could have a role in improvement of survival in selected patients. Positive prognostic factors include epithelioid pathology and a longer disease-free interval after the first procedure.
    Keywords:  Mesothelioma; Recurrence; Second surgery
  13. Virchows Arch. 2021 Jan 24.
      Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapies, including the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) axis blockade, are considered a major oncological breakthrough of the early twenty-first century and have led to remarkable response rates and survival in a subset of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the available therapies work only for one in five unselected, advanced NSCLC patients; thus, patient selection needs to be performed with the use of efficient biomarkers. Although imperfect, programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) on tumor cells and/or immune cells has been established as a predictive biomarker for response to the PD-1 axis blockade. There remain several pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical issues, however, before implementing a PD-L1 IHC assay(s) in the pathology laboratory. In addition, given the lack of robust sensitivity and specificity of PD-L1 IHC for predicting response to ICIs, other biomarkers including tumor mutation burden (TMB) are under investigation. In this review, issues associated with PD-L1 IHC and TMB estimations will be discussed, and other promising biomarkers for predicting response to ICIs will be briefly introduced.
    Keywords:  Immune checkpoint inhibitors; Immune microenvironment; PD-L1; Predictive biomarker; Tumor mutation burden