Oncotarget 2015 June 19 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Patergnani S, Giorgi C, Maniero S, Missiroli S, Maniscalco P, Bononi I, Martini F, Cavallesco G, Tognon M, Pinton P.


The failure of apoptosis may contribute to the formation of cancer and to its resistance to therapy. Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumor that responds poorly to standard chemo- and radio-therapies. Several studies have demonstrated that a plethora of oncogenes and tumor suppressors contribute to MPM onset/progression. Importantly, most of these genes are involved in the regulation of calcium (Ca2+)-handling. Cellular Ca2+ signaling is an important regulator of many physiological processes, and it has been widely reported to participate in the regulation of apoptotic cell death in cancer cells and tissues. However, in MPM the role of cellular Ca2+ has been poorly investigated. Therefore, we examined whether Ca2+ is involved in MPM. We found that mesothelioma cell lines and short-term cultures obtained from MPM-affected patients exhibited a critical dysregulation in Ca2+ signaling. We determined that this characteristic was associated with resistance to apoptotic stimuli and that correction of intracellular Ca2+ signaling resulted in the rescue of efficient apoptotic responses. In addition, we discovered that mitochondrial Ca2+-uptake plays a pivotal role as an inducer of apoptosis in MPM. Altogether, these findings suggest the identification of new MPM markers, which in turn could be potential targets for new therapeutic approaches.