Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case Highlights Importance of Genetic Testing

The case of a peritoneal mesothelioma patient who was diagnosed at just 45-years-old is drawing attention to the role of genetics in this aggressive asbestos-linked malignancy. Sometimes referred to as “asbestos cancer”, malignant mesothelioma is almost always connected with known exposure to the fibrous mineral—often in a work environment. But even though most mesothelioma cases can be traced back to asbestos, not all asbestos-exposed people go on to develop malignant mesothelioma. Because of this, scientists began to believe that, in mesothelioma as in so many other types of cancer, there were likely other factors at play. Early Mesothelioma, Genes, and Asbestos Exposure In most cases, mesothelioma takes decades to develop, meaning that most patients are not diagnosed with mesothelioma until they … Continue reading Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case Highlights Importance of Genetic Testing »

BAP1 Not the Only Genetic Risk Factor for Mesothelioma

A new study suggests that the BAP1 gene, which has been linked to several kinds of cancer including malignant mesothelioma, may not be the only genetic risk factor for the asbestos cancer. Mesothelioma, a fast-growing membrane cancer, typically only occurs in people who have a history of asbestos exposure. But scientists have long wondered why some asbestos-exposed people go on to develop pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma while others don’t. Extensive mesothelioma research, much of it focused on a mesothelioma “epidemic” among extended families in a particular region in Turkey, discovered that many family members who contracted mesothelioma shared a mutation on the BAP1 gene. This genetic anomaly has also been associated with an increased risk for uveal melanoma, renal cell carcinoma … Continue reading BAP1 Not the Only Genetic Risk Factor for Mesothelioma »

Mini-Tumors May Help Doctors Develop Personalized Mesothelioma Treatments

Doctors at Wake Forest University are using miniature lab-grown three dimensional tumors to test personalized mesothelioma treatments. The mini-tumors are known as organoids and are grown from biopsy tissue taken from patients diagnosed with mesothelioma. Researchers say they can serve as models to try out new mesothelioma therapies before using them on patients. “There is a need for model systems to help predict personalized responses to chemotherapeutics,” writes lead investigator Andrea R. Massocchi with the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “We have microengineered 3D tumor organoids directly from fresh tumor biopsies to provide patient-specific models with which treatment optimization can be performed before initiation of therapy.” Personalized Medicine and Malignant Mesothelioma Precision medicine in an up-and-coming area of medicine … Continue reading Mini-Tumors May Help Doctors Develop Personalized Mesothelioma Treatments »

BAP1 May Not Be The Only Gene to Increase Mesothelioma RIsk

The question of why some asbestos-exposed people develop malignant mesothelioma and others do not has been a key focus of mesothelioma research for more than a decade. We now know that a mutation in the BAP1 gene can predispose certain people to several types of cancer, including mesothelioma. This is known as BAP1 cancer syndrome. Without the BAP1 tumor-suppressing protein to keep it at bay, malignant mesothelioma is more likely to occur. But a new study suggests that BAP1 is not the only genetic mutation that can make people more susceptible to the toxic effects of asbestos. Researchers with several top Italian universities have identified ten different genetic variants that may play a role in the development of pleural or … Continue reading BAP1 May Not Be The Only Gene to Increase Mesothelioma RIsk »

BAP1 May Be Valuable for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis

There is new evidence that the same genetic mutation that is common in people with pleural mesothelioma may be present in many cases of peritoneal mesothelioma, too. BAP1 is a tumor suppressing protein encoded by the BAP1 gene. People with a mutation in this gene are less likely to produce the protein and are more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer, including pleural mesothelioma. Although there is a great deal of information linking BAP1 loss and pleural mesothelioma, which occurs on the lining of the lungs, much less is known about the link between BAP1 and peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the abdomen. BAP1 and Peritoneal Mesothelioma To better understand the potential role of BAP1 mutation … Continue reading BAP1 May Be Valuable for Peritoneal Mesothelioma Prognosis »

Gene Test May Help Distinguish Pleural Mesothelioma from Lung Cancer

There is more evidence this week that the tumor suppressor gene known as BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) could help doctors distinguish pleural mesothelioma from other types of lung cancer – even cancers that commonly spread to the pleura. Pleural mesothelioma is unique among cancers in that it starts on the pleural membrane that surrounds the lungs. When other types of cancers metastasize to this region, however, it can be nearly impossible to tell them apart. Especially since late-stage pleural mesothelioma also shares many of the same symptoms as lung cancer, including cough, chest pain, and fatigue. But a team of pathologists in British Columbia has found that, despite their similarities, malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer can be very different in … Continue reading Gene Test May Help Distinguish Pleural Mesothelioma from Lung Cancer »

Exome Sequencing Helps Reveal Origins of Mesothelioma Tumor

A type of genetic sequencing called whole exome sequencing (WES) may help scientists unlock the underlying causes of pleural mesothelioma and develop more targeted treatment plans. A new study conducted in Italy and published in the journal Medicine illustrates how WES – the process of sequencing all of an individual’s protein-coding genes – helped reveal the origins of three different types of lung tumors in a patient with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Mesothelioma Case Study The study funded by the Italian Ministry of Health involved a 73-year-old man diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The challenge was to determine whether the patient’s three tumors were somehow related or whether they arose independently. The answer could impact how doctors … Continue reading Exome Sequencing Helps Reveal Origins of Mesothelioma Tumor »

Understanding the Underlying Causes of Peritoneal Mesothelioma

There is new evidence that alterations in the expression of certain genes, also known as epigenetics, may play an even bigger role in malignant peritoneal mesothelioma than in pleural mesothelioma. Both forms of malignant mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer that impacts internal membranes, are associated with exposure to asbestos, but the association is strongest with pleural mesothelioma. That led researchers in the Clinical Cancer Genomics Lab and the Department of Pathology at the University of California to take a closer look at the gene-related mechanisms that may underlie peritoneal mesothelioma and how they impact disease development and prognosis. The team sequenced 510 cancer-related genes in 13 patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Gene Expression and Malignant Mesothelioma Gene expression is the mechanism … Continue reading Understanding the Underlying Causes of Peritoneal Mesothelioma »

New Treatment Strategy Could Make Mesothelioma More Responsive to Chemotherapy

Researchers in Japan have taken another important step toward creating a novel therapeutic strategy for malignant pleural mesothelioma, a highly treatment-resistant and deadly form of lung cancer. Following up on research they conducted earlier this year, doctors at Tokushima University’s Institute of Health Biosciences successfully boosted the effectiveness of chemotherapy and prolonged mesothelioma survival in mice by manipulating their RNA. RNA and Malignant Mesothelioma Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a molecule that acts as a messenger, carrying and translating instructions from DNA that control critical cellular processes, from metabolism to replication and cell death (apoptosis). Cancer researchers have found that, by “reprogramming” the RNA using specially designed molecules, they can enhance the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy agents, including pemetrexed (Alimta), the only … Continue reading New Treatment Strategy Could Make Mesothelioma More Responsive to Chemotherapy »

DNA Screening May Enhance Mesothelioma Treatment

test tube

New research suggests that testing for evidence of DNA damage may make it possible for doctors to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma more effectively. Right now, there are few effective treatments for mesothelioma. Even the gold standard first-line treatment – pemetrexed-based chemotherapy – is only marginally helpful. For most patients who receive mesothelioma chemotherapy, their disease recurs within a few months. But a newly-released study conducted by scientists in Germany and Greece suggests that DNA damage response “plays a crucial role” in how mesothelioma cells respond to chemotherapy and may help explain why it is less effective in some patients than in others. MiRNAs and Mesothelioma Prognosis The teams used data from 24 mesothelioma tumor specimens to run statistical analyses of … Continue reading DNA Screening May Enhance Mesothelioma Treatment »

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