Clinical Cancer Research 2017 October [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Schunselaar L1, Quispel-Janssen JM2, Kim Y3, Alifrangis C4, Zwart W5, Baas P6, Neefjes J


Finding new treatment options for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma is challenging due to the rarity and heterogeneity of this cancer type. The absence of druggable targets further complicates the development of new therapies. Current treatment options are therefore limited and prognosis remains poor.
We performed drug screening on primary mesothelioma cultures to guide treatment decisions of corresponding patients that were progressive after first or second line treatment.
We observed a high concordance between in vitro results and clinical outcomes. We defined three subgroups responding differently to the anti-cancer drugs tested. In addition, gene expression profiling yielded distinct signatures that segregated the differently responding subgroups. These genes signatures involved various pathways, most prominently the fibroblast growth factor pathway.
Our primary mesothelioma culture system has proved to be suitable to test novel drugs. Chemical profiling of primary mesothelioma cultures allows personalizing treatment for a group of patients with a rare tumor type, where clinical trials are notoriously difficult. This personalized treatment strategy is expected to improve the poor prospects of mesothelioma patients.