A new KRAS gene pathway may contribute to future precision medicine treatment for mesothelioma. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is caused by asbestos inhalation. It is a rare, incurable cancer of the mesothelial cells lining the lungs and the chest wall.
This form of mesothelioma occurs after asbestos exposure in people with a genetic mutation. The mutation is represented by patients with an inherited cancer syndrome. These patients typically have an even worse prognosis than other mesothelioma patients.
A mutation of the KRAS gene may play a role in mesothelioma. A more complex genetic picture may also help explain why some asbestos-exposed workers get the disease and some do not.
Discovery of a DNA Gene Mutation
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Malignant mesothelioma is one of the most aggressive kinds of cancer. It starts on the membranes around organs and can quickly spread to other parts of the body.
Exposure to asbestos is the cause of malignant mesothelioma. But only a tiny percentage of people exposed to asbestos ever contract mesothelioma. Many are construction workers, asbestos plant employees, or veterans. Past studies have explained the gap. A mutation in the patient’s gene appears to make some people more susceptible to the damaging effects of asbestos.
But a new report suggests that KRAS mutation may add more to the story. German researchers from the Institute for Lung Health and Immunity are looking into the KRAS mutation. KRAS has been found in a significant number of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.
Genes Impact Personalized Treatment Plans
There is limited efficacy of available treatments for mesothelioma patients. By the time most people notice symptoms, mesothelioma may already be widespread. Researchers are evaluating new therapeutic approaches.
Genomics is a new branch of medicine. It involves using a patient’s genetic information to create personalized treatment plans. Oncogenomics is the application of genetic information to mesothelioma diagnosis and treatment.
Genes impact mesothelioma survival in a variety of ways. Tumor suppressor genes are supposed to help keep tumors from forming. People with mutations on these genes may be more likely to get malignant mesothelioma.
Researchers say the key to better mesothelioma treatments may be a better understanding of the KRAS cell mutation. The molecular mechanisms of mesothelial cancers are still unclear despite all the research that is being done. Researchers are still learning more about how the mesothelioma cells work inside the body.
Trassl, Lilith, and Georgios T. Stathopoulos. “KRAS Pathway Alterations in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: An Underestimated Player.” Cancers 14, no. 17 (2022): 4303. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6694/14/17/4303