New Perspectives on Diagnosis and Therapy of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Frontiers in Oncology 2018 April [Link]

Rossini M, Rizzo P, Bononi I, Clementz A, Ferrari R, Martini F, Tognon MG


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare, but severe form of cancer, with an incidence that varies significantly within and among different countries around the world. It develops in about one to two persons per million of the general population, leading to thousands of deaths every year worldwide. To date, the MPM is mostly associated with occupational asbestos exposure. Asbestos represents the predominant etiological factor, with approximately 70% of cases of MPM with well-documented occupational exposure to asbestos, with the exposure time, on average greater than 40 years. Environmental exposure to asbestos is increasingly becoming recognized as a cause of mesothelioma, together with gene mutations. The possible roles of other cofactors, such as viral infection and radiation exposure, are still debated. MPM is a fatal tumor. This cancer arises during its early phase without clinical signs. Consequently, its diagnosis occurs at advanced stages. Standard clinical therapeutic approaches include surgery, chemo- and radiotherapies. Preclinical and clinical researches are making great strides in the field of this deadly disease, identifying new biomarkers and innovative therapeutic approaches. Among the newly identified markers and potential therapeutic targets, circulating microRNAs and the Notch pathway represent promising avenues that could result in the early detection of the tumor and novel therapeutic approaches.