European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 2021 June [Link]

F Pagliuca, F Zito Marino, F Morgillo, C Della Corte, M Santini, G Vicidomini, G Guggino, G De Dominicis, S Campione, M Accardo, I Cozzolino, R Franco

Abstract

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a rare aggressive neoplasm arising from mesothelial lining of body cavities, most commonly pleura and peritoneum. It is characterised by a poor prognosis and limited treatment options. A universally recognised risk factor for the development of MM is exposure to asbestos. However, evidence supporting a genetic susceptibility to the development of MM has been accumulating during the last decades. Intensive research for the identification of MM susceptibility genes has led to the discovery of BAP1 and to the definition of the so-called “BAP1-related tumour predisposition syndrome”. Patients carrying germline BAP1 mutations have an increased risk for the early development of tumours, including MMs, uveal melanomas, cutaneous melanocytic lesions, clear cell renal cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas. Furthermore, pathogenic variants in tumour suppressor genes with a role in DNA repair have been recently described in families with clustered MM cases. These genetic alterations seem to confer exaggerate sensitivity to asbestos carcinogenic effect and, arguably, increased response to specific chemotherapeutic strategies. While the translational significance of BAP1 alterations is explored in the research field, the identification of families carrying germline BAP1 mutations is mandatory to start appropriate surveillance programs and guarantee the best clinical management to these patients.