Chronic Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Metabolic Plasticity: Three Players Driving the Pro-Tumorigenic Microenvironment in Malignant Mesothelioma

Cells 2023 August 11 [Link]

Irene Fiorilla, Simona Martinotti, Alberto Maria Todesco, Gregorio Bonsignore, Maria Cavaletto, Mauro Patrone, Elia Ranzato, Valentina Audrito


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a lethal and rare cancer, even if its incidence has continuously increased all over the world. Asbestos exposure leads to the development of mesothelioma through multiple mechanisms, including chronic inflammation, oxidative stress with reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and persistent aberrant signaling. Together, these processes, over the years, force normal mesothelial cells’ transformation. Chronic inflammation supported by “frustrated” macrophages exposed to asbestos fibers is also boosted by the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, damage-associated molecular proteins (DAMPs), and the generation of ROS. In addition, the hypoxic microenvironment influences MPM and immune cells’ features, leading to a significant rewiring of metabolism and phenotypic plasticity, thereby supporting tumor aggressiveness and modulating infiltrating immune cell responses. This review provides an overview of the complex tumor-host interactions within the MPM tumor microenvironment at different levels, i.e., soluble factors, metabolic crosstalk, and oxidative stress, and explains how these players supporting tumor transformation and progression may become potential and novel therapeutic targets in MPM.