bims-mesote Biomed News
on Mesothelioma
Issue of 2021‒02‒07
eleven papers selected by
Laura Mannarino
Mario Negri Institute


  1. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Feb 02. pii: 565. [Epub ahead of print]13(3):
    De Rienzo A, Coleman MH, Yeap BY, Severson DT, Wadowski B, Gustafson CE, Jensen RV, Chirieac LR, Richards WG, Bueno R.
      Sex differences in incidence, prognosis, and treatment response have been described for many cancers. In malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a lethal disease associated with asbestos exposure, men outnumber women 4 to 1, but women consistently live longer than men following surgery-based therapy. This study investigated whether tumor expression of genes associated with estrogen signaling could potentially explain observed survival differences. Two microarray datasets of MPM tumors were analyzed to discover estrogen-related genes associated with survival. A validation cohort of MPM tumors was selected to balance the numbers of men and women and control for competing prognostic influences. The RAS like estrogen regulated growth inhibitor (RERG) gene was identified as the most differentially-expressed estrogen-related gene in these tumors and predicted prognosis in discovery datasets. In the sex-matched validation cohort, low RERG expression was significantly associated with increased risk of death among women. No association between RERG expression and survival was found among men, and no relationship between estrogen receptor protein or gene expression and survival was found for either sex. Additional investigations are needed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying this association and its sex specificity.
    Keywords:  RERG; estrogen; malignant pleural mesothelioma; sex; survival
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13030565
  2. Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Feb 05. pii: clincanres.4037.2020. [Epub ahead of print]
    Oehl K, Vrugt B, Wagner U, Kirschner MB, Meerang M, Weder W, Felley-Bosco E, Wollscheid B, Bankov K, Demes MC, Opitz I, Wild PJ.
      PURPOSE: The clinical standard treatment for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) includes a cisplatin-based chemotherapy, leading to reduction of tumor size in only a minority of patients. Predicting response to chemotherapy in MPM patients using a genetic marker would therefore enable patient stratification.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In this retrospective biomarker study, eligible patients had resectable MPM, measurable disease, and available primary MPM tissue. All patients underwent first-line treatment with cisplatin and pemetrexed followed by surgery. Thorough molecular analysis was performed (whole exome and targeted deep sequencing, copy number analyses), and also mechanistic in vitro data (viability assays, Western blots, immunoprecipitation) using mesothelioma cell lines with and without siRNA-mediated BAP1 knodckdown was provided.
    RESULTS: In a training cohort of MPM patients (n=28), mutations or deletions of BAP1 each predicted resistance to chemotherapy in primary MPM patients. The negative predictive value of BAP1 loss in MPM patients was confirmed by amplicon sequencing and copy number array technology in an independent test cohort (n=39). Preliminary mechanistic studies using siRNA-based knockdown of BAP1 in MPM cell culture models along with immunoprecipitation assays confirmed chemoresistance in vitro, possibly through inhibition of apoptosis and transcriptional regulation of the BAP1/HCF1/E2F1 axis.
    CONCLUSIONS: Alterations in BAP1 in MPM were a negative predictor for response to chemotherapy and could possibly be used as a companion biomarker for treatment decision.
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4037
  3. Thorac Cancer. 2021 Feb 02.
    Fukui T, Okubo T, Tanimoto N, Okuma H, Shiina Y, Kohama M, Yamada J, Funada Y, Ikura Y.
      Here, we report a case of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) that was very difficult to diagnose. A 62-year-old woman with a surgical history of recurrent bilateral pneumothorax was admitted to our hospital with severe dysphagia. Computed tomography (CT) detected stenosis in the lower esophagus. Immunohistochemical examination of a biopsy sample from the stenotic region was suggestive of MPM. Chemotherapy was initiated, but the patient soon weakened and died. Autopsy revealed atypical cells, identical to those seen in the biopsy sample which had spread into the stenotic esophagus and entire thoracic cavity. Although neither pleural thickening/nodules nor asbestos bodies were observed, we finally diagnosed the tumor as a biphasic-type MPM. We re-examined previous surgical specimens of pneumothorax and acknowledged foci of bland mesothelial cell proliferation which had the same pathological findings as tumor cells at autopsy. The lack of asbestos exposure and pleural thickening, an initial manifestation of pneumothorax, and faint cytological atypia prevented an early diagnosis. In cases of recurrent pneumothorax in elderly patients, MPM should be included in the differential diagnosis.
    Keywords:  initial symptom; malignant pleural mesothelioma; pathological diagnosis; pneumothorax
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.13877
  4. Thorac Cancer. 2021 Feb 03.
    Piro R, Fontana M, Livrieri F, Menzella F, Casalini E, Taddei S, De Giorgi F, Facciolongo N.
      Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an asbestos-related and locally invasive tumor with poor prognosis. The acquisition of histological material is mandatory in order to establish a diagnosis. In this situation, the sampling of tissue is generally performed via a thoracoscopic pleural biopsy, either medically or surgically. The use of endobronchial ultrasound-guided transbronchial needle aspiration (EBUS-TBNA) or transesophageal fine needle aspiration with an EBUS scope (EUS-B-FNA) of pleural lesions have only rarely been reported due to the theoretical limitations of tissue acquisition in such cases. We herein report a rare case of MPM successfully diagnosed via EUS-B-FNA in a 49-year-old woman with an unusual presentation characterized by solid thickening in the right mediastinal pleura.
    Keywords:  EBUS/TBNA; EUS-B-FNA; bronchoscopy; pleural mesothelioma
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1111/1759-7714.13868
  5. Radiol Oncol. 2021 Jan 26.
    Franko A, Goricar K, Dodic Fikfak M, Kovac V, Dolzan V.
      BACKGROUND: The study investigated the influence of GCLC, GCLM, GSTM1, GSTT1 and GSTP1 polymorphisms, as well as the influence of interactions between polymorphism and interactions between polymorphisms and asbestos exposure, on the risk of developing pleural plaques, asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma (MM).SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The cross sectional study included 940 asbestos-exposed subjects, among them 390 subjects with pleural plaques, 147 subjects with asbestosis, 225 subjects with MM and 178 subjects with no asbestos-related disease. GCLC rs17883901, GCLM rs41303970, GSTM1 null, GSTT1 null, GSTP1 rs1695 and GSTP1 rs1138272 genotypes were determined using PCR based methods. In statistical analysis, logistic regression was used.
    RESULTS: GSTT1 null genotype was associated with the decreased risk for pleural plaques (OR = 0.63; 95% CI = 0.40-0.98; p = 0.026) and asbestosis (OR = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.28-0.93; p = 0.028), but not for MM. A positive association was found between GSTP1 rs1695 AG + GG vs. AA genotypes for MM when compared to pleural plaques (OR = 1.39; 95% CI = 1.00-1.94; p = 0.049). The interactions between different polymorphisms showed no significant influence on the risk of investigated asbestos-related diseases. The interaction between GSTT1 null polymorphism and asbestos exposure decreased the MM risk (OR = 0.17; 95% CI = 0.03-0.85; p = 0.031).
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that GSTT1 null genotype may be associated with a decreased risk for pleural plaques and asbestosis, may modify the association between asbestos exposure and MM and may consequently act protectively on MM risk. This study also revealed a protective effect of the interaction between GSTP1 rs1695 polymorphism and asbestos exposure on MM risk.
    Keywords:  asbestos; asbestosis; glutathione-related genes; malignant mesothelioma; pleural plaques; polymorphisms
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.2478/raon-2021-0002
  6. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 534499
    Rossini M, Martini F, Torreggiani E, Fortini F, Aquila G, Sega FVD, Patergnani S, Pinton P, Maniscalco P, Cavallesco G, Rizzo P, Tognon M.
      Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive asbestos-related cancer arising from the mesothelial cells lining the pleural cavity. MPM is characterized by a silent clinical progression and a highly resistance to conventional chemo/radio-therapies. MPM patients die in a few months/years from diagnosis. Notch signaling is a well-conserved cell communication system, which regulates many biological processes. In humans, the dysregulation of Notch pathway potentially contributes to cancer onset/progression, including MPM. Metformin is the first-line drug used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metformin is proven to be an effective antitumor drug in preclinical models of different types of cancer. To date, clinical efficacy is being studied in many clinical trials. In this study, the anti-proliferative effect of metformin on MPM cells and the putative involvement of Notch1 as a mediator of metformin activities, were investigated. MPM cells showed high levels of Notch1 activation compared to normal pleural mesothelial cells. Furthermore, metformin treatment hampered MPM cell proliferation and enhanced the apoptotic process, accompanied by decreased Notch1 activation.
    Keywords:  NOTCH1; apoptosis; cell proliferation; malignant pleural mesothelioma; metformin
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.534499
  7. Lancet Respir Med. 2021 Jan 27. pii: S2213-2600(20)30390-8. [Epub ahead of print]
    Fennell DA, King A, Mohammed S, Branson A, Brookes C, Darlison L, Dawson AG, Gaba A, Hutka M, Morgan B, Nicholson A, Richards C, Wells-Jordan P, Murphy GJ, Thomas A, .
      BACKGROUND: Malignant mesothelioma remains an incurable cancer, with no effective treatments in the setting of relapsed disease. Homologous recombination deficiency predicts sensitivity to poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. In mesothelioma, BRCA1-associated protein 1 carboxy-terminal hydrolase (BAP1), which regulates DNA repair, is frequently mutated. We aimed to test the hypothesis that BAP1-deficient or BRCA1-deficient mesotheliomas would be sensitive to PARP inhibition by rucaparib.METHODS: We did a single-centre, open-label, single-arm, phase 2a trial in Leicester, UK, with prospective molecular stratification (Mesothelioma-Stratified Therapy 1 [MiST1]). Patients aged 18 years or older who had radiologically progressing, histologically confirmed, malignant mesothelioma after at least one course of systemic treatment; with cytoplasmic-BAP1-deficient or BRCA1-deficient mesothelioma (pleural or peritoneal or other primary localisation), and who met the other inclusion criteria, were deemed eligible. All eligible patients who consented to take part were given rucaparib 600 mg twice a day orally, for six cycles of 28 days, or until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, withdrawal of consent, or death. Response was measured by CT scan every 6 weeks. The primary outcome was disease control (complete response, partial response, or stable disease) at 12 weeks in all patients who received study drug; secondary outcomes were the safety and toxicity profile, objective response rate (proportion of complete or partial responses), and disease control rate at 24 weeks. Recruitment is now closed. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03654833.
    FINDINGS: Between Feb 9 and June 10, 2019, we enrolled 26 molecularly and clinically eligible patients. Ten (38%) of 26 patients were BAP1 negative and BRCA1 negative, 23 patients (89%) were BAP1 negative, and 13 patients (50%) were BRCA1 negative. Disease control rate at 12 weeks was 58% (95% CI 37-77; 15 of 26 patients), and at 24 weeks was 23% (9-44; six of 26 patients). Rucaparib was well tolerated, with 15 (9%) of 166 adverse events being grade 3 or 4, which were seen in nine (35%) of 26 patients, and there were no deaths. The most common grade 1-2 adverse events were nausea (18 [69%] of 26 patients), fatigue (14 patients [54%]), and decreased appetite (ten patients [38%]). The most common grade 3-4 adverse events were upper respiratory tract infection (three patients [12%]) and anaemia (three patients [12%]). All six cycles of rucaparib were received by eight (31%) of 26 patients. One or more dose reductions occurred in nine patients (35%).
    INTERPRETATION: Rucaparib in patients with BAP1-negative or BRCA1-negative mesothelioma met the prespecified criteria for success, showing promising activity with manageable toxicity. Further investigation of homologous recombination deficiency mutations is planned to refine the identification of predictive biomarkers for PARP inhibition in mesothelioma.
    FUNDING: University of Leicester (Leicester, UK), Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership, and the Victor Dahdaleh Foundation (Toronto, ON, Canada).
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30390-8
  8. Clin Transl Oncol. 2021 Feb 04.
    Nadal E, Bosch-Barrera J, Cedrés S, Coves J, García-Campelo R, Guirado M, López-Castro R, Ortega AL, Vicente D, de Castro-Carpeño J.
      Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive tumour with dismal prognosis arising in the pleura and associated with asbestos exposure. Its incidence is on the rise worldwide. In selected patients with early-stage MPM, a maximal surgical cytoreduction in combination with additional antitumour treatment may be considered in selected patients assessed by a multidisciplinary tumor board. In patients with unresectable or advanced MPM, chemotherapy with platinum plus pemetrexed is the standard of care. Currently, no standard salvage therapy has been approved yet, but second-line chemotherapy with vinorelbine or gemcitabine is commonly used. Novel therapeutic approaches based on dual immunotherapy or chemotherapy plus immunotherapy demonstrated promising survival benefit and will probably be incorporated in the future.
    Keywords:  Clinical guidelines; Diagnostic; Malignant pleural mesothelioma; Treatment
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12094-020-02532-2
  9. Clin Transl Radiat Oncol. 2021 Mar;27 85-88
    Mampuya WA, Bouchaab H, Schaefer N, Kinj R, La Rosa S, Letovanec I, Ozsahin M, Bourhis J, Coukos G, Peters S, Herrera FG.
      The abscopal effect describes the ability of locally administered radiotherapy to induce systemic antitumor effects. Although mentioned for the first time in the 1950s, records of abscopal effects, considered to be immune-mediated, are scarce with radiotherapy alone. However, with the continued development and use of immunotherapy, reports on the abscopal effect have become increasingly frequent during the last decade. Here, we report a patient with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma who had progressive disease while on the anti-PDL1 inhibitor pembrolizumab and showed an abscopal response after palliative radiotherapy.
    Keywords:  Abscopal effect; Checkpoint inhibitors; Immunotherapy; Malignant pleural mesothelioma; Radiotherapy
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctro.2020.12.006
  10. BMJ Open. 2021 Jan 31. 11(1): e040679
    Henshall C, Davey Z, Walthall H, Ball H, Shahidi M, Park J, Rahman N.
      OBJECTIVES: The study aim was to explore experiences of patients with pleural mesothelioma of follow-up care in three National Health Service (NHS) Trusts to develop recommendations for practice.DESIGN: The study design was qualitative and comprised three interlinked phases: a documentary analysis, interviews and consultation meetings. Altheide and Johnson's Analytic Realism theoretical framework guided the thematic data analysis process.
    SETTING: The study was conducted in three NHS Trusts in South England. Two were secondary care settings and the third was a tertiary centre.
    PARTICIPANTS: The secondary care trusts saw 15-20 patients with new mesothelioma per year and the tertiary centre 30-40. The tertiary centre had a designated mesothelioma team. Twenty-one patients met the inclusion criteria: >18 years, mesothelioma diagnosis and in follow-up care. Non-English speaking participants, those unable to provide written informed consent or those whom the clinical team felt would find participation too distressing were excluded. All participants were white, 71% were 70-79 years old and 71% were men. Three consultation meetings were conducted with key stakeholders including mesothelioma nurse specialists, patients with mesothelioma, carers and local clinical commissioning group members.
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Specific outcomes were to gain a detailed understanding of mesothelioma follow-up care pathways and processes and to develop coproduced recommendations for practice.
    RESULTS: Mesothelioma pathways were not always distinct from lung cancer care pathways. All trusts provided follow-up information and resources but there was varied information on how to access local support groups, research or clinical trial participation. Five themes were developed relating to people; processes; places; purpose and perception of care. Coproduced recommendations for improving mesothelioma follow-up pathways were developed following the consultation meetings.
    CONCLUSIONS: This study has developed recommendations which identify the need for patients with pleural mesothelioma to access consistent, specialist, streamlined mesothelioma care, centred around specialist mesothelioma nurses and respiratory consultants, with input from the wider multidisciplinary team.
    Keywords:  adult oncology; adult palliative care; adult thoracic medicine; oncology; qualitative research
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040679