Molecular Characterization of Mesothelioma: Impact of Histologic Type and Site of Origin on Molecular Landscape

JCO Precision Oncology 2022 June [Link]

Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack, Russell W Madison, Jochen K Lennerz, Kuei-Ting Chen, Julia F Hopkins, Alexa B Schrock, Lauren L Ritterhouse, Ashley Lester, Keith A Wharton Jr, Mari Mino-Kenudson, Natalie Danziger, Yin P Hung, Douglas A Mata, Jeffrey S Ross


Purpose: Mesothelioma is an aggressive malignancy with heterogeneous outcomes that are partly driven by the differential efficacy of existing therapies across histologic types and sites of origin. Large-scale molecular analysis of mesothelioma and its subtypes has the potential to inform future therapeutic strategies.

Materials and methods: We analyzed 1,294 mesotheliomas {980 pleural (malignant pleural mesothelioma [MPM]) and 314 peritoneal (malignant peritoneal mesothelioma [MPeM])} using next-generation sequencing, determined programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) expression and histology in a subset of cases, and assessed MTAP/CDKN2A copy-number status by fluorescence in situ hybridization and T-cell infiltration in an independent cohort.

Results: The molecular landscape of MPM was characterized by inactivating alterations in CDKN2A (49%), BAP1 (44%), CDKN2B (42%), MTAP (34%), and NF2 (33%). Compared with epithelioid MPM, nonepithelioid (ie, biphasic and sarcomatoid) MPM had identical tumor mutational burden (median 1.25 mut/Mb, P = .63), more commonly expressed PD-L1 (74% v 51%, P = .02), and was more likely to harbor MTAP, CDKN2A, and CDKN2B copy loss (P < .05). Fluorescence in situ hybridization confirmed that homozygous MTAP loss was enriched in nonepithelioid MPM. Relative to MPM, MPeM had comparable tumor mutational burden and PD-L1 expression. The molecular profile of MPeM was similar to MPM, with the distinction that PBRM1 alterations occurred at higher frequency (16% v 7%, P < .01). ALK rearrangements were only observed in MPeM.

Conclusion: Regardless of histology and location, the molecular landscape of mesothelioma primarily consists of inactivating alterations in tumor suppressor genes, with enrichment of certain alterations in distinct subsets (eg, MTAP loss in nonepithelioid tumors). Given the limited efficacy of current therapies for this disease, novel approaches targeting recurring alterations should be explored.