ATG7 immunohistochemical expression in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. A preliminary report

Histology and Histopathology 2021 November 11 [Link]

Venerando Rapisarda, Giuseppe Broggi, Rosario Caltabiano, Claudia Lombardo, Sergio Castorina, Angela Trovato, Caterina Ledda, Veronica Filetti, Carla Loreto


Literature evidence has demonstrated a high incidence of asbestos-related malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) in a Sicilian town (Biancavilla, Italy), where fluoro-edenite (FE) fibers were discovered some decades ago. As ATG7 immunohistochemical analysis has been ascribed as a prognostic tool of improved survival, we decided to investigate, in MPM patients, exposed and not exposed to FE fibers, the immunohistochemical expression of this autophagy-related protein named ATG7. We analyzed the correlation between ATG7 immunohistochemical level and clinicopathological parameters. Twenty MPM tissue samples, from patients with available clinical and follow-up data, were included in paraffin and processed for immunohistochemistry. The immunohistochemical results confirmed activation of the autophagic process in MPM. Densitometric and morphometric expressions of ATG7 were significantly increased in MPMs when compared to the control tissues. A significant association of a high level of ATG7 with increased survival was demonstrated, with a mean overall survival (OS) of 12.5 months for patients with high expression vs. a mean OS of 4.5 months for patients with low ATG7 expression. In addition, a significant correlation between ATG7 expression and the survival time of MPM patients was observed. This study represents a starting point to hypothesize the prognostic role of ATG7 which could be a reliable prognostic indicator in MPM.