Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. 2009 Jan;135(1):15-27. Epub 2008 Sep 12. [Link]

Weiner SJ, Neragi-Miandoab S.

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH, USA.


Background: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive tumor for which no effective therapy exists despite the discovery of many possible molecular and genetic targets. The late stage of MPM diagnosis and the long latency that exist between some exposures and diagnosis have made it difficult to comprehensively evaluate the role of risk factors and their downstream molecular effects.

Methods: This manuscript is a review of current literature about the pathogenesis of malignant mesothelioma. In this overview, current published studies concerning pathogenesis of malignant mesothelioma are reviewed, with insights into its etiology and pathogenesis. We searched pubmed using the following subjects: mesothelioma, radiation, genetics, pediatric malignant mesothelioma, SV40 virus, and growth factors. We selected 350 valuable articles of which 152 sources were used to complete this review.

Conclusion: Many risk factors for MPM development have been recognized including environmental exposures, genetic susceptibility, viral contamination, and radiation. In this review, we discuss the current molecular and genetic contributors to MPM pathogenesis and the risk factors associated with these carcinogenic processes.

Keywords: Radiation – Genetics – Pediatric malignant mesothelioma – SV40 virus – Growth factors