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New Research Reveals Gene Signature for Mesothelioma

gene signature for mesotheliomaResearchers in China say they have come up with a three-gene signature for mesothelioma. The gene signature may help doctors determine mesothelioma prognosis and plan treatment.

Pleural mesothelioma is challenging to diagnose and even harder to treat. Many patients do not receive a diagnosis until the disease is in an advanced stage.

The new study finds that the gene signature for mesothelioma is “significantly associated”  with overall survival in people with the pleural variety.

Testing a Gene Signature for Mesothelioma

Genes play an important role in the development and progression of cancers like mesothelioma. The Chinese researchers started by searching for other studies on  mesothelioma prognosis and genes.

“The lack of relevant search results indicated that no gene prognostic signatures for MPM have been developed,” writes lead researcher Jian-Guo Zhou.

To develop their gene signature for mesothelioma, the scientists studied gene expression profile data from 39 pleural mesothelioma surgery patients. Five normal pleura specimens and four normal lung specimens served as comparisons.

“We found 22 genes with a statistically significant association with prognosis,” writes Dr. Zhou.

Using a complex series of calculations, the team determined which genes were most important in mesothelioma prognosis. The list was first narrowed to nine genes and finally to just three key genes.

“Compared with a 9-gene model developed using genes identified in the literature, this model has better predictive ability,” concludes the report.

The Value of a Gene Profile for Mesothelioma

To validate their three-gene signature for mesothelioma, the team used genomic data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). They found that the three-gene signature could accurately predict which mesothelioma patients would live longest.

The scientists think these three genes may be involved in cellular processes that that allows mesothelioma to grow and spread.

“Thus, our three-gene prognostic signature provides biological insights and has potential for rapid incorporation into clinical detection programs for tailoring MPM management strategies,” says Dr. Zhou.

Zhou and his colleagues say their findings need to be further validated in larger, multi-institutional studies.


Zhou, JG, et al, “Development and Validation of a Prognostic Signature for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma”, February 15, 2019, Frontiers in Oncology, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fonc.2019.00078/full

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