Molecular Oncology 2022 August 28 [Link]

Hoa-Le Mai, Sophie Deshayes, Thi-Van-Ha Nguyen, Virginie Dehame, Anne-Laure Chéné, Sophie Brouard, Christophe Blanquart


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive cancer mainly related to asbestos exposure. Despite recent therapeutic advances, notably immunotherapies, the benefit remains limited and restricted to a small percentage of patients. Thus, a better understanding of the disease is needed to identify new therapeutic strategies. Recently, interleukin 7 receptor (IL-7R) has been described as being expressed by MPM cells and associated with poorer patient survival. Thus, the aim of this work was to study the IL-7R/IL-7 pathway in MPM using patient samples. We found that, although more than 40% of MPM cells expressed IL-7R, IL-7 had no effect on their intracellular signaling. Accordingly, the addition of IL-7 to the culture medium did not affect MPM cell growth. Using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, we showed that high IL7 gene expression in MPM tumors was associated with a higher overall patient survival and an induction of genes involved in the immune response. In pleural effusions (PEs), we found that IL-7 concentration was not a good diagnostic biomarker. However, we observed that high IL-7 levels in PEs were associated with shorter survival of MPM patients, but not of lung cancer patients. The prognostic value of IL-7 was also conserved when only patients with epithelioid mesothelioma, the most common histological type of MPM, were analyzed. Taken together, our study suggests that, although the IL-7R/IL-7 signaling pathway is not functional in MPM cells, IL-7 expression in PEs may have prognostic value in MPM patients.