The Interplay Between the Immune System, Tumor Suppressor Genes, and Immune Senescence in Mesothelioma Development and Response to Immunotherapy

Journal of Thoracic Oncology 2023 November 23 [Link]

Andre E Nel, Elizabeth N Pavlisko, Victor L Roggli


Despite efforts to ban asbestos mining and manufacturing, mesothelioma deaths in the United States have remained stable at approximately 2500 cases annually. This trend is not unique to the United States but is also a global phenomenon, associated with increased aging of populations worldwide. Although geoeconomic factors such as lack of regulations and continued asbestos manufacturing in resource-poor countries play a role, it is essential to consider biological factors such as immune senescence and increased genetic instability associated with aging. Recognizing that mesothelioma shares genetic instability and immune system effects with other age-related cancers is crucial because the impact of aging on mesothelioma is frequently assessed in the context of disease latency after asbestos exposure. Nevertheless, the long latency period, often cited as a reason for mesothelioma’s elderly predominance, should not overshadow the shared mechanisms. This communication focuses on the role of immune surveillance in mesothelioma, particularly exploring the impact of immune escape resulting from altered TSG function during aging, contributing to the phylogenetic development of gene mutations and mesothelioma oncogenesis. The interplay between the immune system, TSGs, and aging not only shapes the immune landscape in mesothelioma but also contributes to the development of heterogeneous tumor microenvironments, significantly influencing responses to immunotherapy approaches and survival rates. By understanding the complex interplay between aging, TSG decline, and immune senescence, health care professionals can pave the way for more effective and personalized immunotherapies, ultimately offering hope for better outcomes in the fight against mesothelioma.