Mesothelin Expression in Human Tumors: A Tissue Microarray Study on 12,679 Tumors

Biomedicines 2021 April 7 [Link]

Sören Weidemann, Pauline Gagelmann, Natalia Gorbokon, Maximilian Lennartz, Anne Menz, Andreas M Luebke, Martina Kluth, Claudia Hube-Magg, Niclas C Blessin, Christoph Fraune, Katharina Möller, Christian Bernreuther, Patrick Lebok, Till S Clauditz, Frank Jacobsen, Jakob R Izbicki, Kristina Jansen, Guido Sauter, Ria Uhlig, Waldemar Wilczak, Stefan Steurer, Sarah Minner, Eike Burandt, Rainer H Krech, David Dum, Till Krech, Andreas H Marx, Ronald Simon


Mesothelin (MSLN) represents an attractive molecule for targeted cancer therapies. To identify tumors that might benefit from such therapies, tissue microarrays including 15,050 tumors from 122 different tumor types and 76 healthy organs were analyzed for MSLN expression by immunohistochemistry. Sixty-six (54%) tumor types showed at least occasional weak staining, including 50 (41%) tumor types with at least one strongly positive sample. Highest prevalence of MSLN positivity had ovarian carcinomas (serous 97%, clear cell 83%, endometrioid 77%, mucinous 71%, carcinosarcoma 65%), pancreatic adenocarcinoma (ductal 75%, ampullary 81%), endometrial carcinomas (clear cell 71%, serous 57%, carcinosarcoma 50%, endometrioid 45%), malignant mesothelioma (69%), and adenocarcinoma of the lung (55%). MSLN was rare in cancers of the breast (7% of 1138), kidney (7% of 807), thyroid gland (1% of 638), soft tissues (0.3% of 931), and prostate (0 of 481). High expression was linked to advanced pathological tumor (pT) stage (p < 0.0001) and metastasis (p < 0.0001) in 1619 colorectal adenocarcinomas, but unrelated to parameters of malignancy in 1072 breast-, 386 ovarian-, 174 lung-, 757 kidney-, 171 endometrial-, 373 gastric-, and 925 bladder carcinomas. In summary, numerous important cancer types with high-level MSLN expression might benefit from future anti-MSLN therapies, but MSLN’s prognostic relevance appears to be limited.