bims-mesote Biomed News
on Mesothelioma
Issue of 2021‒08‒22
five papers selected by
Laura Mannarino
Humanitas Research

  1. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Aug 17. 40(1): 257
      BACKGROUND: Based on previous studies highlighting that the induction of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and high prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels contribute to the pathogenesis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), and that aromatase (CYP19A1), an enzyme that plays a key role in estrogen biosynthesis, along with estradiol (E2) were expressed in MPM, this study aimed to investigate the possible interplay between COX-2 and CYP19A1 in the pathogenesis of mesothelioma, as well as the underlying mechanism.METHODS: The interaction between COX-2 and CYP19A1 was first investigated on different MPM lines upon PGE2, and COX-2 inhibitor (rofecoxib) treatment by western blot, RT-PCR. The key regulatory pathways involved in the COX-2 and CYP19A1 axis were further studied in MPM cells, after rofecoxib and exemestane (CYP19A1 inhibitor) treatment in monotherapy and in combination, by cell cycle distribution, western blot, and combination index analysis. To explore the role of COX-2/CYP19A1 axis in 3D preclinical models of MPM cells, we analyzed the effect of combination of COX-2 and CYP19A1 inhibitors in mesosphere formation. Immunohistochemical analysis of MPM mesosphere and specimens was utilized to evaluate the involvement of COX-2 on the CYP19A1 activity and the relationship between E2 and COX-2.
    RESULTS: PGE2 or rofecoxib treatment caused in MPM cells an increased or decreased, respectively, CYP19A1 expression at mRNA and protein levels. The effect of rofecoxib and exemestane combination in MPM cell proliferation was synergistic. Activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of PARP confirmed an apoptotic death for MPM cell lines. Increased expression levels of p53, p21, and p27, downregulation of cyclin D1 and inhibition of Akt activation (pAKT) were also found. The antagonistic effect of rofecoxib and exemestane combination found only in one cell line, was reverted by pretreatment with MK2206, a pAKT inhibitor, indicating pAKT as an actionable mediator in the COX-2-CYP19A1 axis. Reduction of size and sphere-forming efficiency in MPM spheres after treatment with both inhibitor and a decrease in COX-2 and E2 staining was found. Moreover, immunohistochemical analysis of 46 MPM samples showed a significant positive correlation between COX-2 and E2.
    CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, the results highlighted a novel COX-2/CYP19A1 axis in the pathogenesis of MPM that can be pharmacologically targeted, consequently opening up new therapeutic options.
    Keywords:  Aromatase; Cyclooxygenase-2; Inflammation; Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
  2. Am J Surg Pathol. 2021 Aug 19.
      Primary peritoneal malignant mesothelioma (MM) can demonstrate morphologic overlap with low-grade and high-grade tubo-ovarian serous neoplasms; it is also biologically and prognostically distinct from benign mesothelial proliferations. Currently, there is no single biomarker that can definitively distinguish these neoplasms. Sex-determining region Y box 6 (SOX6) immunohistochemistry has been recently described to differentiate pleural epithelioid MM from lung adenocarcinoma, but it has not been evaluated in the peritoneum. SOX6 immunohistochemistry was performed on 43 peritoneal epithelioid MM, 7 peritoneal biphasic MM, 5 well-differentiated papillary mesotheliomas, 5 serous borderline tumors, 29 low-grade serous carcinomas (LGSCs), 20 high-grade serous carcinomas (HGSCs), and 25 cases of peritoneal reactive mesothelial hyperplasia. Quantitative SOX6 expression in epithelioid MM (median, 100% of tumor cells) was significantly greater than in LGSC/serous borderline tumor (median, 90%; P=0.004) and HGSC (median, 45%; P=0.0001). However, when SOX6 is expression is defined as ≥10% of tumor cells, there was no significant difference in the rate of SOX6 positivity between epithelioid MM (41/43, 95%), LGSC (28/29, 97%; P=1.0), and HGSC (17/20, 85%; P=0.16). Quantitative extent of SOX6 expression in epithelioid MM was significantly greater than in biphasic MM (median, 0%; P=0.0001), well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (median, 20%; P=0.001), and reactive mesothelial hyperplasia (median, 20%; P=0.0001), but not significantly different from flat quiescent mesothelium (median, 90%; P=0.82). SOX6 immunohistochemistry is 95% sensitive for peritoneal epithelioid MM, but is also consistently expressed in LGSC and HGSC, negating its usefulness in this common differential diagnosis. SOX6 also shows variable expression across the spectrum of reactive, benign neoplastic, and malignant mesothelial lesions of the peritoneum, and does not appear to be diagnostically useful in distinguishing benign from malignant mesothelial proliferations.
  3. Cancer Treat Rev. 2021 Aug 05. pii: S0305-7372(21)00113-4. [Epub ahead of print]100 102265
      Pleural mesothelioma (PM) remains a malignancy with poor prognosis. Despite initial disappointing response rates to single-agent chemotherapy, upfront platinum and anti-folate-based combination chemotherapy has remained the backbone of treatment for PM for the last three decades. The role of maintenance chemotherapy remains unclear; switch-maintenance gemcitabine has shown improvements in progression-free but not overall survival. The addition of antiangiogenic agents to chemotherapy yielded modest improvements in survival, both upfront in combination with platinum-pemetrexed, and in the relapsed setting. Immunotherapy, particularly PD-(L)1 inhibitors, has shown important but variable effectiveness in relapsed PM when used as monotherapy, and is an important salvage treatment after first-line chemotherapy. Furthermore, the randomized phase 3 trial of ipilimumab-nivolumab versus platinum-pemetrexed chemotherapy demonstrated improved overall survival favouring ipilimumab-nivolumab (HR 0.74, 96.6% CI 0.60-0.91; p = 0.0020), establishing this regimen as the new standard first-line treatment for PM, particularly in those with non-epithelioid histology. Increased interest in PM genomics has led to development of novel personalized therapeutics, such as those targeting DNA repair and EZH2 pathways, however with variable outcomes in trials. Targeting the membrane glycoprotein mesothelin and arginine deprivation are other important strategies under ongoing investigation. The field of PM is changing and new treatments bring hope to a largely lethal and poor prognostic malignancy. Despite these developments, current challenges include understanding the role of combination and multimodality treatments, drivers of resistance to treatment, and establishing predictive biomarkers to improve patient selection and treatment sequencing.
    Keywords:  Anti-angiogenic agents; Chemotherapy; Immunotherapy; Mesothelioma; Systemic therapy
  4. Ann Glob Health. 2021 ;87(1): 73
      Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and the chief known cause of mesothelioma. In 1997, a group of experts developed the Helsinki Criteria, which established criteria for attribution of mesothelioma to asbestos. The criteria include two methods for causation attribution: 1) a history of significant occupational, domestic, or environmental exposure and/or 2) pathologic evidence of exposure to asbestos. In 2014, the Helsinki Criteria were updated, and these attribution criteria were not changed. However, since the Helsinki Criteria were first released in 1997, some pathologists, cell biologists, and others have claimed that a history of exposure cannot establish causation unless the lung asbestos fiber burden exceeds "the background range for the laboratory in question to attribute mesothelioma cases to exposure to asbestos." This practice ignores the impact on fiber burden of clearance/translocation over time, which in part is why the Helsinki Criteria concluded that a history of exposure to asbestos was independently sufficient to attribute causation to asbestos. After reviewing the Helsinki Criteria, we conclude that their methodology is fatally flawed because a quantitative assessment of a background lung tissue fiber level cannot be established. The flaws of the Helsinki Criteria are both technical and substantive. The 1995 paper that served as the scientific basis for establishing background levels used inconsistent methods to determine exposures in controls and cases. In addition, historic controls cannot be used to establish background fiber levels for current cases because ambient exposures to asbestos have decreased over time and control cases pre-date current cases by decades. The use of scanning electron microscope (SEM) compounded the non-compatibility problem; the applied SEM cannot distinguish talc from anthophyllite because it cannot perform selected area electron diffraction, which is a crucial identifier in ATEM for distinguishing the difference between serpentine asbestos, amphibole asbestos, and talc.
  5. Psychooncology. 2021 Aug 18.
      OBJECTIVE: To develop a short, flexible, and comprehensive tool to measure psychological distress in caregivers of malignant mesothelioma (MM) patients: the Mesothelioma Psychological Distress Tool-Caregivers version (MPDT-C).METHODS: Based on a systematic review of the relevant literature, aspects associated with caregiver distress were derived. Expert researchers/clinicians developed a pool of items for each identified aspect. Content validity was assessed through a multiple mixed-methods approach. A multicenter study was conducted to explore the factorial structure of the 47-item MPDT-C through Bayesian factor analysis.
    RESULTS: The Bayesian exploratory factor analysis revealed an underlying three-factor structure. Factors were labeled Secondary Traumatic Stress, Engagement in Caring, and Meaningful Cognitive Restructuring. All scales showed sufficient reliability and corrected item-total correlations. Females scored higher than males for Engagement in Caring.
    CONCLUSIONS: Taking care of malignant mesothelioma patients is a stressful process that influences the caregiver's physical, emotional, and social wellbeing. Our study offers preliminary evidence in support of the adequate psychometric properties of the MPDT-C, and these should now be replicated. Results suggest that the MPDT-C is a reliable tool with which to detect the psychological distress of this traumatized population.
    Keywords:  assessment; cancer; caregiver burden; caregivers; distress; mesothelioma; psycho-oncology