A new study on malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, identified three sets of tumors with different molecular structure characteristics.
According to a study by a World Health Organisation (WHO), these molecular profiles could shed light on the clinical management and treatment strategies for mesothelioma and thus improve the understanding of the carcinogenic processes that contribute to this deadly disease.
According to Matthieu Foll, the lead author of the study and a scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in the field of genetic susceptibility to cancer, “innovative sequencing technologies that provide information on the molecular characteristics of tumors can now reveal differences between tumors that seem very similar when looked at through the microscope”.
“The expression of proteins associated with the immune and circulatory systems of tumors enabled us to identify molecular profiles that could explain the differences in survival and response to treatment,” he added.
This IARC paper was published in EBioMedicine magazine.
Most patients with this cancer die within 2 years of the diagnosis.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare and poorly studied form of cancer associated with exposure to carcinogenic mineral fibers, collectively referred to as asbestos.
Most patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma die two years after diagnosis, mainly due to the limited availability of treatment and early detection options.
One of the reasons for these limitations is that there are few molecular studies, as opposed to the more advanced research that has been done on the most common types of cancer.
Although the use of asbestos is banned in many developed countries, malignant pleural mesothelioma remains a public health problem. This is due, among other things, to the long latency period of the disease, which can last for several decades, the aging of the population, the increase in environmental exposure and the continued use of asbestos, especially in developing countries.
IARC scientists have worked closely with the French database MESOPATH/MESOBANK, an extensive multi-center network of national clinical data, biological samples and standard operating procedures for malignant mesothelioma.