Journal of Thoracic Disease 2021 October [Link]

Albero Murrone, Luca Cantini, Federica Pecci, Valeria Cognigni, Cecilia Copparoni, Silvia Rinaldi, Ilaria Fiordoliva, Federica Monaco, Corrado Rubini, Francesca Barbisan, Alessia Cimadamore, Riccardo Giampieri, Francesca Bianchi, Marco Tomasetti, Monica Amati, Lory Santarelli, Rossana Berardi


Background: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive disease, with few available treatment options. Identification of novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers is a priority. In MPM patients, BRCA-associated protein 1 (BAP1) alterations are detected in about 60% of cases and miR-31 seems to be involved in BAP1 regulation at post-transcriptional level. The aim of this study was to evaluate the interaction between BAP1 and miR-31 in MPM and their prognostic role in MPM.

Methods: The expression of BAP1 and miR-31 was analyzed in tissues of 55 MPM patients treated with first-line chemotherapy. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were assessed by Kaplan-Meier method and Log-rank test was used to investigate differences among subgroups. Multivariate Cox regression analysis was used to evaluate independent predictors of survival.

Results: In the whole cohort, loss of BAP1 was associated with a significant improvement in OS, but not in PFS. Lower miR-31 levels were detected in epithelioid MPM (e-MPM) compared to the non-epithelioid subtypes and resulted associated with BAP1 loss. By looking at the e-MPM subgroup, loss of BAP1 was not able to predict clinical outcome. Conversely, miR-31 levels were significantly associated with PFS (P=0.028), but not with OS (P=0.059). By combining the two biomarkers, e-MPM patients with BAP1 loss/low miR-31 levels showed a better prognosis compared to the ones with BAP1 retained/high miR-31 levels (median OS 22.6 vs. 17.0 months, P=0.017 and median PFS 8.7 vs. 5.1 months, P=0.020). The BAP1 and miR-31 combination was confirmed at multivariate analysis as an independent prognostic factor for e-MPM patients.

Conclusions: In this preliminary study, we found that the prognostic stratification of e-MPM patients may be improved by simultaneously assessing of BAP1 status and miR-31 levels. The two-biomarker score is useful to identify a subgroup of e-MPM tumors characterized by BAP1 retained and high miR-31 levels with worse clinical outcome.