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Bibliography on: Mesothelioma and Asbestos

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Robert J. Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, a publisher, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology. More About:  RJR | OUR TEAM | OUR SERVICES | THIS WEBSITE

RJR: Recommended Bibliography 26 Jan 2022 at 01:36 Created: 

Mesothelioma and Asbestos

Mesothelioma is a rare, but deadly form of cancer that is often (nearly always) associated with prior exposure to asbestos. The latency between exposure and disease onset is long, usually 20-50 years, making this a difficult cause-effect system to study.

Created with PubMed® Query: asbestos AND mesothelioma NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)

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RevDate: 2022-01-18

Armato SG, Nowak AK, Francis RJ, et al (2021)

Imaging in pleural mesothelioma: A review of the 15th International Conference of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.

Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 164:76-83 pii:S0169-5002(21)00636-X [Epub ahead of print].

Imaging of mesothelioma plays a role in all aspects of patient management, including disease detection, staging, evaluation of treatment options, response assessment, pre-surgical evaluation, and surveillance. Imaging in this disease impacts a wide range of disciplines throughout the healthcare enterprise. Researchers and clinician-scientists are developing state-of-the-art techniques to extract more of the information contained within these medical images and to utilize it for more sophisticated tasks; moreover, image-acquisition technology is advancing the inherent capabilities of these images. This paper summarizes the imaging-based topics presented orally at the 2021 International Conference of the International Mesothelioma Interest Group (iMig), which was held virtually from May 7-9, 2021. These topics include an update on the mesothelioma staging system, novel molecular targets to guide therapy in mesothelioma, special considerations and potential pitfalls in imaging mesothelioma in the immunotherapy setting, tumor measurement strategies and their correlation with patient survival, tumor volume measurement in MRI and CT, CT-based texture analysis for differentiation of histologic subtype, diffusion-weighted MRI for the assessment of biphasic mesothelioma, and the prognostic significance of skeletal muscle loss with chemotherapy.

RevDate: 2022-01-15

Sculco M, La Vecchia M, Aspesi A, et al (2022)

Malignant pleural mesothelioma: Germline variants in DNA repair genes may steer tailored treatment.

European journal of cancer (Oxford, England : 1990), 163:44-54 pii:S0959-8049(21)01304-6 [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a tumour associated with asbestos exposure. Approximately, 10% of patients with MPM carry a germline pathogenic variant (PV), mostly in DNA repair genes, suggesting the occurrence of inherited predispositions.

AIM: This article aimed to 1) search for new predisposing genes and assess the prevalence of PVs in DNA repair genes, by next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis of germline DNA from 113 unselected patients with MPM and 2) evaluate whether these patients could be sensitive to tailored treatments.

METHODS: NGS was performed using a custom panel of 107 cancer-predisposing genes. To investigate the response to selected drugs in conditions of DNA repair insufficiency, we created a three-dimensional-MPM cell model that had a defect in ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), the master regulator of DNA repair.

RESULTS: We identified PVs in approximately 7% of patients with MPM (8/113) and a new PV in BAP1 in a further patient with familial MPM. Most of these PVs were in genes involved or supposedly involved in DNA repair (BRCA1, BRIP1, CHEK2, SLX4, FLCN and BAP1). In vitro studies showed apoptosis induction in ATM-silenced/inhibited MPM spheroids treated with an enhancer of zeste homologue 2 inhibitor (tazemetostat).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall these data suggest that patients with MPM and DNA repair insufficiency may benefit from this treatment, which induces synthetic lethality.

RevDate: 2022-01-11

Dalsgaard SB, Würtz ET, Hansen J, et al (2021)

Cancer Incidence and Risk of Multiple Cancers after Environmental Asbestos Exposure in Childhood-A Long-Term Register-Based Cohort Study.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(1): pii:ijerph19010268.

OBJECTIVES: To examine the asbestos-associated cancer incidence and the risk of multiple cancers in former school children exposed to environmental asbestos in childhood.

METHODS: A cohort of 12,111 former school children, born 1940-1970, was established using 7th grade school records from four schools located at a distance of 100-750 m in the prevailing wind direction from a large asbestos-cement plant that operated from 1928 to 1984 in Aalborg, Denmark. Using the unique Danish personal identification number, we linked information on employments, relatives' employments, date of cancer diagnosis, and type of cancer and vital status to data on cohortees extracted from the Supplementary Pension Fund Register (employment history), the Danish Cancer Registry, and the Danish Civil Registration System. We calculated standardized incidence rates (SIRs) for asbestos-associated cancers, all cancers, and multiple cancers using rates for a gender and five-year frequency-matched reference cohort.

RESULTS: The overall incidence of cancer was modestly increased for the school cohort (SIR 1.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.12) compared with the reference cohort. This excess was driven primarily by a significantly increased SIR for malignant mesothelioma (SIR 8.77, 95% CI 6.38-12.05). Former school children who had combined childhood environmental and subsequent occupational exposure to asbestos had a significantly increased risk of lung cancer. Within this group, those with additional household exposure by a relative had a significantly increased SIR for cancer of the pharynx (SIR 4.24, 95% CI 1.59-11.29). We found no significant difference in the number of subjects diagnosed with multiple cancers between the two cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study confirms the strong association between environmental asbestos exposure and malignant mesothelioma and suggests that environmental asbestos exposure in childhood may increase the overall cancer risk later in life.

RevDate: 2022-01-11

Binazzi A, Di Marzio D, Verardo M, et al (2021)

Asbestos Exposure and Malignant Mesothelioma in Construction Workers-Epidemiological Remarks by the Italian National Mesothelioma Registry (ReNaM).

International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(1): pii:ijerph19010235.

Notwithstanding the ban in 1992, asbestos exposure for workers in the construction sector in Italy remains a concern. The purpose of this study is to describe the characteristics of malignant mesothelioma (MM) cases recorded by the Italian registry (ReNaM) among construction workers. Incident mesothelioma cases with a definite asbestos exposure have been analyzed. Characteristics of cases and territorial clusters of crude rates of MM in construction workers have been described, as well as the relation between asbestos use before the ban and the historical trend of workforce in the construction sector in Italy. ReNaM has collected 31,572 incident MM cases in the period from 1993 to 2018 and asbestos exposure has been assessed for 24,864 (78.2%) cases. An occupational exposure has been reported for 17,191 MM cases (69.1% of subjects with a definite asbestos exposure). Among them, 3574 had worked in the construction sector, with an increasing trend from 15.8% in the 1993-98 period to 23.9% in 2014-2018 and a ubiquitous territorial distribution. The large use of asbestos in construction sector before the ban makes probability of exposure for workers a real concern still today, particularly for those working in maintenance and removal of old buildings. There is a clear need to assess, inform, and prevent asbestos exposure in this sector.

RevDate: 2022-01-10

Crovella S, Revelant A, Muraro E, et al (2021)

Biological Pathways Associated With the Development of Pulmonary Toxicities in Mesothelioma Patients Treated With Radical Hemithoracic Radiation Therapy: A Preliminary Study.

Frontiers in oncology, 11:784081.

Radical hemithoracic radiotherapy (RHR), after lung-sparing surgery, has recently become a concrete therapeutic option for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), an asbestos-related, highly aggressive tumor with increasing incidence and poor prognosis. Although the toxicity associated to this treatment has been reduced, it is still not negligible and must be considered when treating patients. Genetic factors appear to play a role determining radiotherapy toxicity. The aim of this study is the identification of biological pathways, retrieved through whole exome sequencing (WES), possibly associated to the development of lung adverse effects in MPM patients treated with RHR. The study included individuals with MPM, treated with lung-sparing surgery and chemotherapy, followed by RHR with curative intent, and followed up prospectively for development of pulmonary toxicity. Due to the strong impact of grade 3 pulmonary toxicities on the quality of life, compared with less serious adverse events, for genetic analyses, patients were divided into a none or tolerable pulmonary toxicity (NoSTox) group (grade ≤2) and a severe pulmonary toxicity (STox) group (grade = 3). Variant enrichment analysis allowed us to identify different pathway signatures characterizing NoSTox and Stox patients, allowing to formulate hypotheses on the protection from side effects derived from radiotherapy as well as factors predisposing to a worst response to the treatment. Our findings, being aware of the small number of patients analyzed, could be considered a starting point for the definition of a panel of pathways, possibly helpful in the management of MPM patients.

RevDate: 2022-01-07

Tai SY, Wu J, Lee LJ, et al (2021)

How Malignant Mesothelioma Was Coded in Mortality Data in Taiwan During Years When the Specific ICD Code Was Not Available?.

Clinical epidemiology, 13:1135-1140 pii:339956.

Purpose: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is associated with past exposure to asbestos and the latency period ranged from 20 to 40 years. Asbestos consumption reached a peak in the 1980s in Taiwan, and the MM mortality is expected to increase since 2000s. However, no specific code for MM was available before the International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), which was launched in 2008 in Taiwan. We examined how MM was coded in mortality data in Taiwan during the years when the ICD, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) was used.

Patients and Methods: Double-coded mortality data (each death coded according to both ICD-10 and ICD-9 codes) for the period 2002-2008 were obtained for analysis. Detection rates (similar to sensitivity) and confirmation rates (similar to positive predictive value) for various potential proxy ICD-9 codes for MM were calculated.

Results: For 113 deaths, for which the underlying cause of death was ICD-10 code C45 (MM), 14 corresponding ICD-9 codes were used. Four ICD-9 codes constituted 77% (87/113) of all MM deaths. The detection rate for code 199 (malignant neoplasm [MN] without specification of site) was 37% (42/113), that for code 163 (MN of pleura) was 18% (20/113), that for code 162 (MN of trachea, bronchus, and lung) was 12% (14/113), and that for code 173 (other MN of skin) was 10% (11/113). The confirmation rates for codes 199, 163, 162, and 173 were 0.9% (42/4759), 14.3% (20/140), 0.03% (14/51,778), and 1.5% (11/717), respectively.

Conclusion: ICD-9 codes 199, 163, 162, and 173 were most commonly used for MM deaths in Taiwan during the years before the ICD-10 introduction. However, when we used only ICD-9 code 163, which was most commonly used as a surrogate measure of MM in mortality studies during the ICD-9 era, we could detect only one-fifth of MM deaths in Taiwan.

RevDate: 2022-01-05

Orozco Morales ML, Rinaldi CA, de Jong E, et al (2022)

PPARα and PPARγ activation is associated with pleural mesothelioma invasion but therapeutic inhibition is ineffective.

iScience, 25(1):103571 pii:S2589-0042(21)01541-8.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that typically originates in the pleura of the lungs. It rapidly invades the surrounding tissues, causing pain and shortness of breath. We compared cell lines injected either subcutaneously or intrapleurally and found that only the latter resulted in invasive and rapid growth. Pleural tumors displayed a transcriptional signature consistent with increased activity of nuclear receptors PPARα and PPARγ and with an increased abundance of endogenous PPAR-activating ligands. We found that chemical probe GW6471 is a potent, dual PPARα/γ antagonist with anti-invasive and anti-proliferative activity in vitro. However, administration of GW6471 at doses that provided sustained plasma exposure levels sufficient for inhibition of PPARα/γ transcriptional activity did not result in significant anti-mesothelioma activity in mice. Lastly, we demonstrate that the in vitro anti-tumor effect of GW6471 is off-target. We conclude that dual PPARα/γ antagonism alone is not a viable treatment modality for mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-12-30
CmpDate: 2021-12-30

Lysaniuk B, Cely-García MF, Giraldo M, et al (2021)

Using GIS to Estimate Population at Risk Because of Residence Proximity to Asbestos Processing Facilities in Colombia.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(24):.

The recent enactment of the law banning asbestos in Colombia raises a significant number of challenges. The largest factories that have historically processed asbestos include five asbestos-cement facilities located in the cities of Sibaté (Cundinamarca), Cali (Valle del Cauca), and Barranquilla (Atlántico), and Manizales (Caldas), which has two, as well as a friction products facility in Bogotá D.C. An asbestos chrysotile mine has also operated in Colombia since 1980 in Campamento (Antioquia). In the framework of developing the National Asbestos Profile for Colombia, in this study, we estimated the population residing in the vicinity of asbestos processing plants or the mine and, therefore, potentially at risk of disease. Using a geographic information system, demographic data obtained from the last two general population censuses were processed to determine the number of people living within the concentric circles surrounding the asbestos facilities and the mine. In previous studies conducted in different countries of the world, an increased risk of asbestos-related diseases has been reported for people living at different distance bands from asbestos processing facilities. Based on these studies, circles of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, and 10,000 m radii, centered on the asbestos processing facilities and the mine that operated in Colombia, were combined with the census data to estimate the number of people living within these radii. Large numbers of people were identified. It is estimated that in 2005, at the country level, 10,489 people lived within 500 m of an asbestos processing facility or mine. In 2018, and within a distance of 10,000 m, the number of people was 6,724,677. This information can aid public health surveillance strategies.

RevDate: 2021-12-29

Okazaki Y (2021)

Asbestos-induced mesothelial injury and carcinogenesis: Involvement of iron and reactive oxygen species.

Pathology international [Epub ahead of print].

Asbestos fibers have been used as an industrial and construction material worldwide due to their high durability and low production cost. Commercial usage of asbestos is currently prohibited in Japan; however, the risk of asbestos-induced malignant mesothelioma (MM) remains. According to epidemiological data, the onset of MM is estimated to occur after a latent period of 30-40 years from initial exposure to asbestos fibers; thus, the continuous increase in MM is a concern. To explore the molecular mechanisms of MM using animal models, iron saccharate with iron chelator-induced sarcomatoid mesothelioma (SM) revealed hallmarks of homozygous deletion of Cdkn2a/2b by aCGH and microRNA-199/214 by expression microarray. Oral treatment of iron chelation by deferasirox decreased the rate of high-grade SM. Moreover, phlebotomy delayed MM development in crocidolite-induced MM in rats. In Divalent metal transporter 1 (Dmt1) transgenic mice, MM development was delayed because of low reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. These results indicate the importance of iron and ROS in mesothelial carcinogenesis. The aims of this review focus on the pathogenesis of elongated mineral particles (EMPs), including asbestos fibers and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) that share similar rod-like shapes in addition to the molecular mechanisms of MM development.

RevDate: 2021-12-28

Kottek M, ML Yuen (2021)

Public health risks from asbestos cement roofing.

American journal of industrial medicine [Epub ahead of print].

There is no identified risk-free threshold exposure to asbestos. Based on epidemiology and toxicology, asbestos fiber dimensions have been implicated in causing asbestos-related diseases. Phase-contrast microscopy provides only a limited index of exposure to fiber dimensions implicated in mesothelioma induction. Installed asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) create an ongoing risk of intense exposure during natural disasters and remodeling, along with low-level exposure arising from the continual emission of airborne asbestos into the environment arising from weathering of installed ACM. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated a risk of disease associated with proximity to asbestos cement roofing (ACR), while ongoing environmental emissions of asbestos from installed ACR have also been demonstrated. Owing to the limitations of the available data, a precautionary approach is warranted; asbestos-free roofing materials should be used in new construction and existing ACR should be removed at the earliest opportunity.

RevDate: 2021-12-28

Forte IM, Indovina P, Montagnaro S, et al (2021)

The Oncolytic Caprine Herpesvirus 1 (CpHV-1) Induces Apoptosis and Synergizes with Cisplatin in Mesothelioma Cell Lines: A New Potential Virotherapy Approach.

Viruses, 13(12): pii:v13122458.

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive asbestos-related cancer, against which no curative modalities exist. Oncolytic virotherapy is a promising therapeutic approach, for which MM is an ideal candidate; indeed, the pleural location provides direct access for the intra-tumoral injection of oncolytic viruses (OVs). Some non-human OVs offer advantages over human OVs, including the non-pathogenicity in humans and the absence of pre-existing immunity. We previously showed that caprine herpesvirus 1 (CpHV-1), a non-pathogenic virus for humans, can kill different human cancer cell lines. Here, we assessed CpHV-1 effects on MM (NCI-H28, MSTO, NCI-H2052) and non-tumor mesothelial (MET-5A) cells. We found that CpHV-1 reduced cell viability and clonogenic potential in all MM cell lines without affecting non-tumor cells, in which, indeed, we did not detect intracellular viral DNA after treatment. In particular, CpHV-1 induced MM cell apoptosis and accumulation in G0/G1 or S cell cycle phases. Moreover, CpHV-1 strongly synergized with cisplatin, the drug currently used in MM chemotherapy, and this agent combination did not affect normal mesothelial cells. Although further studies are required to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the selective CpHV-1 action on MM cells, our data suggest that the CpHV-1-cisplatin combination could be a feasible strategy against MM.

RevDate: 2021-12-24

Klebe S, Hocking AJ, Soeberg M, et al (2021)

The Significance of Short Latency in Mesothelioma for Attribution of Causation: Report of a Case with Predisposing Germline Mutations and Review of the Literature.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(24): pii:ijerph182413310.

Malignant mesothelioma is a tumour of the serosal membranes, related to asbestos exposure. Median latency is in the order of 40 years in various registries, but small numbers of cases with shorter latencies have long been reported and often dismissed as unrelated to asbestos exposure. However, emerging data regarding the significance of inherited mutations leading to a predisposition to mesothelioma suggest that the causative effect of asbestos may be associated with shorter latencies in a subset of patients. Here, we describe a male patient with germline mutations in RAD51 and p53 who developed peritoneal mesothelioma 8.5 years after well-documented asbestos exposure and discuss the current literature on the subject. Mesothelioma in situ is now a WHO-accepted diagnosis, but preliminary data reveal a potential lead time of 5 or more years to invasive disease, and this is also a factor which may affect the recording of latency (and potentially survival) in the future.

RevDate: 2021-12-24

Abukar A, Wipplinger M, Hariharan A, et al (2021)

Double-Stranded RNA Structural Elements Holding the Key to Translational Regulation in Cancer: The Case of Editing in RNA-Binding Motif Protein 8A.

Cells, 10(12): pii:cells10123543.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer associated with asbestos exposure. RNA-binding motif protein 8a (RBM8A) mRNA editing increases in mouse tissues upon asbestos exposure. The aim of this study was to further characterize the role of RBM8A in mesothelioma and the consequences of its mRNA editing. RBM8A protein expression was higher in mesothelioma compared to mesothelial cells. Silencing RBM8A changed splicing patterns in mesothelial and mesothelioma cells but drastically reduced viability only in mesothelioma cells. In the tissues of asbestos-exposed mice, editing of Rbm8a mRNA was associated with increased protein immunoreactivity, with no change in mRNA levels. Increased adenosine deaminase acting on dsRNA (ADAR)-dependent editing of Alu elements in the RBM8A 3'UTR was observed in mesothelioma cells compared to mesothelial cells. Editing stabilized protein expression. The unedited RBM8A 3'UTR had a stronger interaction with Musashi (MSI) compared to the edited form. The silencing of MSI2 in mesothelioma or overexpression of Adar2 in mesothelial cells resulted in increased RBM8A protein levels. Therefore, ADAR-dependent editing contributes to maintaining elevated RBM8A protein levels in mesothelioma by counteracting MSI2-driven downregulation. A wider implication of this mechanism for the translational control of protein expression is suggested by the editing of similarly structured Alu elements in several other transcripts.

RevDate: 2021-12-24

Gharib AF, Alaa Eldeen M, Khalifa AS, et al (2021)

Assessment of Glutathione Peroxidase-1 (GPX1) Gene Expression as a Specific Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarker in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland), 11(12): pii:diagnostics11122285.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a malignant tumor of the mesothelial lining of the thorax. It has been related to frequent exposure to asbestos. Diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma is considered a criticizing problem for clinicians. Early diagnosis and sufficient surgical excision of MPM are considered the cornerstone success factors for the management of early MPM. Glutathione peroxidase-1 (GPX1) is an intracellular protein found to be extensively distributed in all cells, and it belongs to the GPX group. In the current study, we included ninety-eight patients with MPM that underwent surgery at the Zagazig University Hospital in Egypt. We assessed GPX1 gene expression level as it was thought to be related to pathogenicity of cancer in a variety of malignant tumors. We observed a significant elevation in GPX1-mRNA levels in MPM relative to the nearby normal pleural tissues. It was found to be of important diagnostic specificity in the differentiation of MPM from normal tissues. Moreover, we studied the survival of patients in correlation to the GPX1 expression levels and we reported that median overall survival was about 16 months in patients with high GPX1 expression levels, while it was found to be about 40 months in low GPX1 levels.

RevDate: 2021-12-15

Hajj GNM, Cavarson CH, Pinto CAL, et al (2021)

Malignant pleural mesothelioma: an update.

Jornal brasileiro de pneumologia : publicacao oficial da Sociedade Brasileira de Pneumologia e Tisilogia, 47(6):e20210129 pii:S1806-37132021000600500.

Malignant mesotheliomas are rare types of cancers that affect the mesothelial surfaces, usually the pleura and peritoneum. They are associated with asbestos exposure, but due to a latency period of more than 30 years and difficult diagnosis, most cases are not detected until they reach advanced stages. Treatment options for this tumor type are very limited and survival ranges from 12 to 36 months. This review discusses the molecular physiopathology, current diagnosis, and latest therapeutic options for this disease.

RevDate: 2021-12-15

Frontini F, Bononi I, Torreggiani E, et al (2021)

Circulating microRNA-197-3p as a potential biomarker for asbestos exposure.

Scientific reports, 11(1):23955.

Asbestos is considered the main cause of diseases in workers exposed to this mineral in the workplace as well as an environmental pollutant. The association between asbestos and the onset of different diseases has been reported, but asbestos exposure specific biomarkers are not known. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, single-strand, non-coding RNAs, with potential value as diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive markers in liquid biopsies. Sera collected from workers ex-exposed to asbestos (WEA) fibers were compared with sera from healthy subjects (HS) of similar age, as liquid biopsies. The expression of the circulating miRNA 197-3p was investigated employing two different highly analytical PCR methods, i.e. RT-qPCR and ddPCR. MiR-197-3p levels were tested in sera from WEA compared to HS. MiR-197-3p tested dysregulated in sera from WEA (n = 75) compared to HS (n = 62). Indeed, miR-197-3p was found to be 2.6 times down-regulated in WEA vs. HS (p = 0.0001***). In addition, an inverse correlation was detected between miR-197-3p expression level and cumulative asbestos exposure, being this miRNA down-regulated 2.1 times in WEA, with high cumulative asbestos exposure, compared to WEA with low exposure (p = 0.0303*). Circulating miR-197-3p, found to be down regulated in sera from WEA, is proposed as a new potential biomarker of asbestos exposure.

RevDate: 2021-12-13

Johnson BW, Takahashi K, YY Cheng (2021)

Preclinical Models and Resources to Facilitate Basic Science Research on Malignant Mesothelioma - A Review.

Frontiers in oncology, 11:748444.

Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with poor prognosis, predominantly caused by human occupational exposure to asbestos. The global incidence of mesothelioma is predicted to increase as a consequence of continued exposure to asbestos from a variety of sources, including construction material produced in the past in developed countries, as well as those currently being produced in developing countries. Mesothelioma typically develops after a long latency period and consequently it is often diagnosed in the clinic at an advanced stage, at which point standard care of treatment, such as chemo- and radio-therapy, are largely ineffective. Much of our current understanding of mesothelioma biology, particularly in relation to disease pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment, can be attributed to decades of preclinical basic science research. Given the postulated rising incidence in mesothelioma cases and the limitations of current diagnostic and treatment options, continued preclinical research into mesothelioma is urgently needed. The ever-evolving landscape of preclinical models and laboratory technology available to researchers have made it possible to study human disease with greater precision and at an accelerated rate. In this review article we provide an overview of the various resources that can be exploited to facilitate an enhanced understanding of mesothelioma biology and their applications to research aimed to improve the diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. These resources include cell lines, animal models, mesothelioma-specific biobanks and modern laboratory techniques/technologies. Given that different preclinical models and laboratory technologies have varying limitations and applications, they must be selected carefully with respect to the intended objectives of the experiments. This review therefore aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the various preclinical models and technologies with respect to their advantages and limitations. Finally, we will detail about a highly valuable preclinical laboratory resource to curate high quality mesothelioma biospecimens for research; the biobank. Collectively, these resources are essential to the continued advancement of precision medicine to curtail the increasing health burden caused by malignant mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-12-13

Marazioti A, Krontira AC, Behrend SJ, et al (2021)

KRAS signaling in malignant pleural mesothelioma.

EMBO molecular medicine [Epub ahead of print].

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) arises from mesothelial cells lining the pleural cavity of asbestos-exposed individuals and rapidly leads to death. MPM harbors loss-of-function mutations in BAP1, NF2, CDKN2A, and TP53, but isolated deletion of these genes alone in mice does not cause MPM and mouse models of the disease are sparse. Here, we show that a proportion of human MPM harbor point mutations, copy number alterations, and overexpression of KRAS with or without TP53 changes. These are likely pathogenic, since ectopic expression of mutant KRASG12D in the pleural mesothelium of conditional mice causes epithelioid MPM and cooperates with TP53 deletion to drive a more aggressive disease form with biphasic features and pleural effusions. Murine MPM cell lines derived from these tumors carry the initiating KRASG12D lesions, secondary Bap1 alterations, and human MPM-like gene expression profiles. Moreover, they are transplantable and actionable by KRAS inhibition. Our results indicate that KRAS alterations alone or in accomplice with TP53 alterations likely play an important and underestimated role in a proportion of patients with MPM, which warrants further exploration.

RevDate: 2021-12-07

Sohn EJ (2021)

Bioinformatic Analysis of Potential Biomarker for hsa-miR-196b-5p in Mesothelioma.

Genetic testing and molecular biomarkers [Epub ahead of print].

Purpose: Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a rare neoplasia with a poor prognosis, and the majority of patients have advanced disease at the time of presentation. Exposure to asbestos is the most important risk factor for malignant pleural mesothelioma. Materials and Methods: To determine the cytotoxicity of geldanamycin in mesothelioma H28 cells, the MTT assay was used. To determine changes in microRNA (miRNA) expression in geldanamycin-treated H28 cells, miRNA microarray analysis was performed. To determine the function of miR-196b-5p, we performed Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway enrichment analyses of miR-196b-5p targets predicted by miRwalk. Results: Our data showed that geldanamycin treatment reduced H28 cell viability in a dose-dependent manner. MicroRNA array showed that expression of hsa-miR-196b-5p was downregulated in geldanamycin-treated H28 cells. Geldanamycin regulated miRNAs with roles in processes such as aging, angiogenesis, apoptosis, cell cycle, cell differentiation, cell proliferation, DNA repair, and secretion. Survival analysis showed that low expression of hsa-miR-196b-5p was significantly associated with a better outcome in mesothelioma patients. Expression of miR-196b-5p was also significantly associated with the developmental stages of mesothelioma. To narrow down the target genes of miR-196b-5p, we determined the overlap between the predicted target genes of miR-196b-5p and downregulated mRNAs in ovarian cancer based on the Gene Expression Omnibus dataset GSE12345. PDE1A, LAMA4, and PAPPA were identified as both miR-196b-5p targets and downregulated genes in GSE12345 and were thus considered targets of miR-196b-5p. Gene-miRNA expression correlation analysis showed that PDE1A, LAMA4, and PAPPA expression was negatively correlated with miR-196b-5p expression. Conclusions: We suggest that geldanamycin is potentially useful as an anticancer effect for the treatment of mesothelioma via regulating miR-196b-5p. Furthermore, miR-196b-5p may be a potential biomarker for mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-12-03

Popat S, Baas P, Faivre-Finn C, et al (2021)

Malignant pleural mesothelioma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.

RevDate: 2021-11-29

Chen Z, Song S, Yang C, et al (2021)

Lipid Profiling in Malignant Mesothelioma Reveals Promising Signatures for Diagnosis and Prognosis: A Plasma-Based LC-MS Lipidomics Study.

Clinica chimica acta; international journal of clinical chemistry pii:S0009-8981(21)00414-9 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Malignant mesothelioma (MM), being a rare and aggressive carcinoma, can barely be cured. Incidence of this cancer will keep climbing up in the next few decades since its major carcinogen, asbestos, is still in use in many countries. Unfortunately, prognosis of MM is unsatisfactory principally due to poor early diagnosis as a result of its long latency period and ambiguous symptoms. Lipids are known to contribute to cellular structure, signaling, and energy storage, and are widely reported to be related with tumorigenesis. Therefore, we aim to discover novel lipid biomarkers by plasma-based lipidomics that may improve MM diagnosis.

METHODS: Plasma samples from 25 MM patients and 32 healthy controls (HCs) were collected and analysed using a high-throughput liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Univariate and multivariate analyses were subsequently performed to visualize the separation trend between two groups and to screen for differential feature ions. Ions were annotated using LipidSearch 4.2 and their enriched pathways were detected on LIPEA. Receiver operating curves (ROC) were used for analysing each annotated lipid's diagnostic value. Survival analyses were performed to investigate each lipid's prognostic value.

RESULTS: In supervised partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), clear separation between MM and HC groups was observed. A total of 34 differential lipids were annotated, among which 5 upregulated and 29 downregulated. Levels of plasma triacylglycerols (TGs) were higher in smoking versus non-smoking patients, and lower in female versus male patients. The top six lipids possessing highest diagnostic value included two phosphatidylethanolamines (PEs), two phosphatidylcholines (PCs) and two ceramides. Moreover, elevated circulating TG levels were associated with poorer survival, whereas increased monohexosylceramide (Hex1Cer) might be beneficial.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study revealed differentially expressed lipid patterns in MM and HC. PC, PE, and ceramides showed outstanding diagnostic performance, while TG and Hex1Cer exhibited significant prognostic values. Nevertheless, more studies should verify these trends as well as further investigating underlying mechanisms.

RevDate: 2021-11-29

De Sario M, Bauleo L, Magnani C, et al (2021)

L'impatto dell'esposizione occupazionale ad amianto sul tumore del polmone in Italia.

Epidemiologia e prevenzione, 45(5):353-367.

OBJECTIVES: to perform a meta-analysis of cohort studies on lung cancer mortality in occupational sectors exposed to asbestos, particularly in the construction sector, and to use data from Italian cohorts exposed to asbestos to estimate the number of lung cancer cases attributable to asbestos in Italy.

METHODS: systematic literature review and estimation of lung cancer deaths and cases attributable to asbestos in Italian cohorts and from the Italian National Register of Malignant Mesothelioma (ReNaM).

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: the literature search was conducted in Medline and Embase (Ovid), including papers published from 1999 to May 2019. The following sectors were considered most exposed to asbestos: asbestos-cement, rolling-stock, shipyards, dockyards, glass workers, insulators, asphalt roll production workers, industrial ovens, miners. Moreover, the construction sector was included.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was estimated from the meta-analysis of the literature review. The ratio lung cancer to mesothelioma attributable cases was estimated by occupational sector from the Italian cohorts. For the construction sector, the ratio lung cancer to mesothelioma cases was estimated within the exposed workers estimated by CAREX (1990-1993). The ratios were applied to the mesothelioma cases registered at the ReNaM for the 2010-2015 period, to obtain a national estimate of lung cancer cases attributable to occupational exposure to asbestos.

RESULTS: the meta-analytical SMR for lung cancer in men varied between 1.05 (asphalt roll) and 2.36 (insulation). The mean risk for all sectors was 1.37 in men and 1.60 in women. It increased in cohorts with latency higher than 20 years. Significant risks were observed in asbestos-cement (both genders), construction, and mining sectors. There was a mean of 1.1, 2.7, and 2.8 lung cancer deaths per mesothelioma death in the cement-asbestos, harbour, and construction sectors, respectively. The impact in terms of lung cancer cases estimated at the national level was equal to 3,814 cases between 2010 and 2015.

CONCLUSIONS: to provide an overall assessment of the impact of the occupational asbestos exposure, it is important to consider lung cancer cases, in addition to malignant mesotheliomas. This study was able to estimate the impact of asbestos on lung cancer in Italy 25 years after the ban of this occupational carcinogen, with the largest contribution in terms of attributable cases coming from the construction sector. It is urgent to implement adequate information and prevention strategies, health surveillance of workers, and the appropriate legal framework for insurance purposes.

RevDate: 2021-11-29

Kawamoto Y, Kure S, Katayama H, et al (2021)

Cytological assessment of desmoplastic malignant pleural mesothelioma in an autopsy case.

Journal of Nippon Medical School = Nippon Ika Daigaku zasshi [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Desmoplastic malignant pleural mesothelioma (DMPM) is a sarcoma type mesothelioma, comprising about 5% of malignant pleural mesotheliomas. Although effusion cytology is commonly used as the primary diagnostic approach for mesothelioma, this may not be useful for DMPM due to its desmoplastic nature and bland cellular atypia. We hereby report a case of DMPM diagnosed through autopsy along with its cytological features that have not been described previously.

CASE PRESENTATION: A male in his 60s with a history of occupational asbestos exposure was referred to our hospital with right chest pain. Chest computed tomography scan showed right pleural effusion. Thirteen months later, the patient died of respiratory failure. In autopsy, the scrape-imprint smear and the pleural effusions cytology were performed. The scrape-imprint smear samples exhibited spindle cells with mild nuclear atypia and grooves with fibrous stroma. In the pleural effusion cytology, spindle cells having mild nuclear atypia and grooves with loose epithelial connections were observed. Histological examination of the right pleura showed spindle cells proliferating with dense collagen fibers, as seen in cytological samples, thus rendering the diagnosis of DMPM. Diagnosis was confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization.

CONCLUSION: Cytological procedures, such as pleural effusion cytology and scrape-imprinting method, may be useful as an ancillary tool in the diagnosis of rare tumors such as DMPM.

RevDate: 2021-11-27

Kelarji AB, Alshutaihi MS, Ghazal A, et al (2021)

Correction to: A rare case of benign multicystic peritoneal mesothelioma misdiagnosed as hydatid cyst found in the liver parenchyma and abdomen cavity of a male with asbestos exposure.

BMC gastroenterology, 21(1):447.

RevDate: 2021-11-27

Filetti V, Loreto C, Falzone L, et al (2021)

Diagnostic and Prognostic Value of Three microRNAs in Environmental Asbestiform Fibers-Associated Malignant Mesothelioma.

Journal of personalized medicine, 11(11): pii:jpm11111205.

Fluoro-edenite (FE) is an asbestiform fiber identified in Biancavilla (Sicily, Italy). Environmental exposure to FE has been associated with a higher incidence of malignant mesothelioma (MM). The present study aimed to validate the predicted diagnostic significance of hsa-miR-323a-3p, hsa-miR-101-3p, and hsa-miR-20b-5p on a subset of MM patients exposed to FE and matched with healthy controls. For this purpose, MM tissues vs. nonmalignant pleura tissues were analyzed through droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to evaluate differences in the expression levels of the selected miRNAs and their MM diagnostic potential. In addition, further computational analysis has been performed to establish the correlation of these miRNAs with the available online asbestos exposure data and clinic-pathological parameters to verify the potential role of these miRNAs as prognostic tools. ddPCR results showed that the three analyzed miRNAs were significantly down-regulated in MM cases vs. controls. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis revealed high specificity and sensitivity rates for both hsa-miR-323a-3p and hsa-miR-20b-5p, which thus acquire a diagnostic value for MM. In silico results showed a potential prognostic role of hsa-miR-101-3p due to a significant association of its higher expression and increased overall survival (OS) of MM patients.

RevDate: 2021-11-27

Cersosimo F, Barbarino M, Lonardi S, et al (2021)

Mesothelioma Malignancy and the Microenvironment: Molecular Mechanisms.

Cancers, 13(22): pii:cancers13225664.

Several studies have reported that cellular and soluble components of the tumor microenvironment (TME) play a key role in cancer-initiation and progression. Considering the relevance and the complexity of TME in cancer biology, recent research has focused on the investigation of the TME content, in terms of players and informational exchange. Understanding the crosstalk between tumor and non-tumor cells is crucial to design more beneficial anti-cancer therapeutic strategies. Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a complex and heterogenous tumor mainly caused by asbestos exposure with few treatment options and low life expectancy after standard therapy. MPM leukocyte infiltration is rich in macrophages. Given the failure of macrophages to eliminate asbestos fibers, these immune cells accumulate in pleural cavity leading to the establishment of a unique inflammatory environment and to the malignant transformation of mesothelial cells. In this inflammatory landscape, stromal and immune cells play a driven role to support tumor development and progression via a bidirectional communication with tumor cells. Characterization of the MPM microenvironment (MPM-ME) may be useful to understand the complexity of mesothelioma biology, such as to identify new molecular druggable targets, with the aim to improve the outcome of the disease. In this review, we summarize the known evidence about the MPM-ME network, including its prognostic and therapeutic relevance.

RevDate: 2021-11-27

Ramundo V, Zanirato G, E Aldieri (2021)

The Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) in the Development and Metastasis of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(22): pii:ijms222212216.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive tumor mainly associated with asbestos exposure and is characterized by a very difficult pharmacological approach. One of the molecular mechanisms associated with cancer onset and invasiveness is the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), an event induced by different types of inducers, such as transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), the main inducer of EMT, and oxidative stress. MPM development and metastasis have been correlated to EMT; On one hand, EMT mediates the effects exerted by asbestos fibers in the mesothelium, particularly via increased oxidative stress and TGFβ levels evoked by asbestos exposure, thus promoting a malignant phenotype, and on the other hand, MPM acquires invasiveness via the EMT event, as shown by an upregulation of mesenchymal markers or, although indirectly, some miRNAs or non-coding RNAs, all demonstrated to be involved in cancer onset and metastasis. This review aims to better describe how EMT is involved in driving the development and invasiveness of MPM, in an attempt to open new scenarios that are useful in the identification of predictive markers and to improve the pharmacological approach against this aggressive cancer.

RevDate: 2021-11-27

Javadi J, Görgens A, Vanky H, et al (2021)

Diagnostic and Prognostic Utility of the Extracellular Vesicles Subpopulations Present in Pleural Effusion.

Biomolecules, 11(11): pii:biom11111606.

Extracellular vesicles (EVs), comprising exosomes, microvesicles, and apoptotic bodies, are released by all cells into the extracellular matrix and body fluids, where they play important roles in intercellular communication and matrix remodeling in various pathological conditions. Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a primary tumor of mesothelial origin, predominantly related to asbestos exposure. The detection of MPM at an early stage and distinguishing it from benign conditions and metastatic adenocarcinomas (AD) is sometimes challenging. Pleural effusion is often the first available biological material and an ideal source for characterizing diagnostic and prognostic factors. Specific proteins have previously been identified as diagnostic markers in effusion, but it is not currently known whether these are associated with vesicles or released in soluble form. Here, we study and characterize tumor heterogeneity and extracellular vesicle diversity in pleural effusion as diagnostic or prognostic markers for MPM. We analyzed extracellular vesicles and soluble proteins from 27 pleural effusions, which were collected and processed at the department of pathology and cytology at Karolinska University Hospital, representing three different patient groups, MPM (n = 9), benign (n = 6), and AD (n = 12). The vesicles were fractionated into apoptotic bodies, microvesicles, and exosomes by differential centrifugation and characterized by nanoparticle tracking analysis and Western blotting. Multiplex bead-based flow cytometry analysis showed that exosomal markers were expressed differently on EVs present in different fractions. Further characterization of exosomes by a multiplex immunoassay (Luminex) showed that all soluble proteins studied were also present in exosomes, though the ratio of protein concentration present in supernatant versus exosomes varied. The proportion of Angiopoietin-1 present in exosomes was generally higher in benign compared to malignant samples. The corresponding ratios of Mesothelin, Galectin-1, Osteopontin, and VEGF were higher in MPM effusions compared to those in the benign group. These findings demonstrate that relevant diagnostic markers can be recovered from exosomes.

RevDate: 2021-11-25

Nowak AK, Chin WL, Keam S, et al (2021)

Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Lung cancer (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 162:162-168 pii:S0169-5002(21)00599-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Mesothelioma is a rare and universally fatal cancer linked to exposure to asbestos. Until recently, standard of care treatment was chemotherapy; a treatment resulting in a minimal survival extension, and not improved upon for almost twenty years. However, the advent of cancer immunotherapy - and in particular the immune checkpoint inhibitor class of drugs - has resulted in recently approved new treatment options, with more currently under investigation. Here, we review clinical trials of both single agent and combination checkpoint inhibitors in mesothelioma, plus studies investigating their combination with chemotherapy. We also describe current advances in biomarker identification regarding prediction of patient response to checkpoint inhibitors. Finally, we assess the probable future direction of the field; including where current and developing technologies are likely to lead - in terms of both biomarker discovery and treatment options.

RevDate: 2021-11-24

Novelli F, Bononi A, Wang Q, et al (2021)

BAP1 forms a trimer with HMGB1 and HDAC1 that modulates gene × environment interaction with asbestos.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(48):.

Carriers of heterozygous germline BAP1 mutations (BAP1 +/-) are affected by the "BAP1 cancer syndrome." Although they can develop almost any cancer type, they are unusually susceptible to asbestos carcinogenesis and mesothelioma. Here we investigate why among all carcinogens, BAP1 mutations cooperate with asbestos. Asbestos carcinogenesis and mesothelioma have been linked to a chronic inflammatory process promoted by the extracellular release of the high-mobility group box 1 protein (HMGB1). We report that BAP1 +/- cells secrete increased amounts of HMGB1, and that BAP1 +/- carriers have detectable serum levels of acetylated HMGB1 that further increase when they develop mesothelioma. We linked these findings to our discovery that BAP1 forms a trimeric protein complex with HMGB1 and with histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) that modulates HMGB1 acetylation and its release. Reduced BAP1 levels caused increased ubiquitylation and degradation of HDAC1, leading to increased acetylation of HMGB1 and its active secretion that in turn promoted mesothelial cell transformation.

RevDate: 2021-11-17

Dodge DG, Engel AM, Prueitt RL, et al (2021)

US EPA's TSCA risk assessment approach: a case study of asbestos in automotive brakes.

Inhalation toxicology [Epub ahead of print].

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is currently refining its approach for risk assessments conducted under the amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), largely based on recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). We identified several issues with the current TSCA risk assessment approach that were not addressed by NASEM in its recommendations. Here, we demonstrate these issues with a case study of the 'Risk Evaluation for Asbestos, Part 1: Chrysotile Asbestos,' which US EPA released in December 2020. In this evaluation, US EPA found that occupational and some consumer uses of automotive brakes and clutches that contain asbestos result in unreasonable risks. These risks were calculated from estimated exposures during brake work and an inhalation unit risk (IUR) developed for chrysotile asbestos. We found that US EPA overestimated risk as a result of unrealistic inputs to both the exposure and toxicity components of the risk equation, and because the Agency did not fully consider relevant epidemiology and toxicity evidence in its systematic review. Our evaluation demonstrates areas in which the TSCA risk assessment approach could be improved to result in risk evaluations that are supported by the available scientific evidence.

RevDate: 2021-11-14

Sidhu C, Louw A, YC Gary Lee (2021)

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Updates for Respiratory Physicians.

Clinics in chest medicine, 42(4):697-710.

RevDate: 2021-11-15

Çakılkaya P, Sørensen RR, Jürgensen HJ, et al (2021)

The Collagen Receptor uPARAP in Malignant Mesothelioma: A Potential Diagnostic Marker and Therapeutic Target.

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(21): pii:ijms222111452.

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a highly aggressive cancer with limited therapeutic options. We have previously shown that the endocytic collagen receptor, uPARAP, is upregulated in certain cancers and can be therapeutically targeted. Public RNA expression data display uPARAP overexpression in MM. Thus, to evaluate its potential use in diagnostics and therapy, we quantified uPARAP expression by immunohistochemical H-score in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded bioptic/surgical human tissue samples and tissue microarrays. We detected pronounced upregulation of uPARAP in the three main MM subtypes compared to non-malignant reactive mesothelial proliferations, with higher expression in sarcomatoid and biphasic than in epithelioid MM. The upregulation appeared to be independent of patients' asbestos exposure and unaffected after chemotherapy. Using immunoblotting, we demonstrated high expression of uPARAP in MM cell lines and no expression in a non-malignant mesothelial cell line. Moreover, we showed the specific internalization of an anti-uPARAP monoclonal antibody by the MM cell lines using flow cytometry-based assays and confocal microscopy. Finally, we demonstrated the sensitivity of these cells towards sub-nanomolar concentrations of an antibody-drug conjugate formed with the uPARAP-directed antibody and a potent cytotoxin that led to efficient, uPARAP-specific eradication of the MM cells. Further studies on patient cohorts and functional preclinical models will fully reveal whether uPARAP could be exploited in diagnostics and therapeutic targeting of MM.

RevDate: 2021-11-15

Zupanc C, Franko A, Štrbac D, et al (2021)

Serum Calretinin as a Biomarker in Malignant Mesothelioma.

Journal of clinical medicine, 10(21): pii:jcm10214875.

The early diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma (MM) could improve the prognosis of MM patients. To confirm an MM diagnosis, an immunohistochemical analysis of several tumor tissue markers, including calretinin, is currently required. Our aim is to evaluate serum calretinin as a potential biomarker in asbestos-related diseases, especially in MM. Our study includes 549 subjects: 164 MM patients, 117 subjects with asbestosis, 195 subjects with pleural plaques and 73 occupationally asbestos-exposed subjects without asbestos-related diseases. The serum calretinin concentration was determined with a commercially available enzyme immunoassay. Data on the soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP) concentration are available from previous studies. MM patients had a significantly higher calretinin concentration than subjects without disease, subjects with pleural plaques or subjects with asbestosis (all p < 0.001). The histological type was significantly associated with serum calretinin: patients with sarcomatoid MM had lower calretinin than patients with the epithelioid type (p = 0.001). In a ROC curve analysis, the area under the curve for calretinin concentration predicting MM was 0.826 (95% CI = 0.782-0.869; p < 0.001). At the cutoff value of 0.32 ng/mL, sensitivity was 0.683, while specificity was 0.886. The combination of calretinin and SMRP had the highest predictive value. Calretinin is a useful biomarker that can distinguish MM from other asbestos-related diseases and could, therefore, contribute to an earlier non-invasive diagnosis of MM.

RevDate: 2021-11-13

Ke H, Gill AJ, McKenzie C, et al (2021)

Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma With EWSR1-ATF1 Fusion: A Case Report.

JTO clinical and research reports, 2(11):100236.

Malignant mesothelioma with EWSR1-ATF1 fusion is a rare malignancy described in young adults without asbestos exposure. To the best of our knowledge, outcomes to local and systemic therapies for this subtype of malignant mesothelioma have not been described. This case report describes the clinical course of a 19-year-old man diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma with EWSR1-ATF1 fusion localized to the abdomen. His disease followed an aggressive course and resulted in limited survival (18 mo). There was treatment resistance to several lines of conventional local and systemic treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma and biologically targeted MET inhibition with crizotinib. More research is required in this rare subtype of peritoneal mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-11-11

Rapisarda V, Broggi G, Caltabiano R, et al (2021)

ATG7 immunohistochemical expression in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. A preliminary report.

Histology and histopathology pii:HH-18-396 [Epub ahead of print].

Literature evidence has demonstrated a high incidence of asbestos-related malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) in a Sicilian town (Biancavilla, Italy), where fluoro-edenite (FE) fibers were discovered some decades ago. As ATG7 immunohistochemical analysis has been ascribed as a prognostic tool of improved survival, we decided to investigate, in MPM patients, exposed and not exposed to FE fibers, the immunohistochemical expression of this autophagy-related protein named ATG7. We analyzed the correlation between ATG7 immunohistochemical level and clinicopathological parameters. Twenty MPM tissue samples, from patients with available clinical and follow-up data, were included in paraffin and processed for immunohistochemistry. The immunohistochemical results confirmed activation of the autophagic process in MPM. Densitometric and morphometric expressions of ATG7 were significantly increased in MPMs when compared to the control tissues. A significant association of a high level of ATG7 with increased survival was demonstrated, with a mean overall survival (OS) of 12.5 months for patients with high expression vs. a mean OS of 4.5 months for patients with low ATG7 expression. In addition, a significant correlation between ATG7 expression and the survival time of MPM patients was observed. This study represents a starting point to hypothesize the prognostic role of ATG7 which could be a reliable prognostic indicator in MPM.

RevDate: 2021-11-10

Touma T, Taira R, Makida T, et al (2022)

Marked ventilation impairment due to progression of diffuse pleural thickening after cardiac surgery.

Radiology case reports, 17(1):1-4 pii:S1930-0433(21)00700-7.

A 64-year-old Japanese man presented with dyspnea and shortness of breath during exertion. Chest computed tomography revealed bilateral pleural effusion. He was drowsy because of CO2 storage and died due to ventilatory impairment. His past medical history included a thymectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy with thymoma. He had undergone cardiac surgery and permanent pacemaker implantation. The autopsy examination revealed extensive bilateral pleural adhesions and diffuse visceral pleural thickening. An inspection of multiple lung sections failed to detect any asbestos body formation or mesothelioma. The patient's pleural effusion and diffuse pleural thickening may have exacerbated after cardiac surgery. In this case, the progression and pathophysiology of the pleural thickening could be traced by imaging and an autopsy, and we were able to estimate the factors that exacerbated the pleural thickening and ventilation impairment.

RevDate: 2021-11-09

Hemminki K, Försti A, Chen T, et al (2021)

Incidence, mortality and survival in malignant pleural mesothelioma before and after asbestos in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

BMC cancer, 21(1):1189.

BACKGROUND: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare but fatal cancer, which is largely caused by exposure to asbestos. Reliable information about the incidence of MPM prior the influence of asbestos is lacking. The nationwide regional incidence trends for MPM remain poorly characterized. We use nationwide MPM data for Denmark (DK), Finland (FI), Norway (NO) and Sweden (SE) to assess incidence, mortality and survival trends for MPM in these countries.

METHODS: We use the NORDCAN database for the analyses: incidence data were available from 1943 in DK, 1953 in FI and NO and 1958 in SE, through 2016. Survival data were available from 1967 through 2016. World standard population was used in age standardization.

RESULTS: The lowest incidence that we recorded for MPM was 0.02/100,000 for NO women and 0.05/100,000 for FI men in 1953-57, marking the incidence before the influence of asbestos. The highest rate of 1.9/100,000 was recorded for DK in 1997. Female incidence was much lower than male incidence. In each country, the male incidence trend for MPM culminated, first in SE around 1990. The regional incidence trends matched with earlier asbestos-related industrial activity, shipbuilding in FI and SE, cement manufacturing and shipbuilding in DK and seafaring in NO. Relative 1-year survival increased from about 20 to 50% but 5-year survival remained at or below 10%.

CONCLUSION: In the Nordic countries, the male incidence trends for MPM climaxed and started to decrease, indicating that the prevention of exposure was beneficial. Survival in MPM has improved for both sexes but long-term survival remains dismal.

RevDate: 2021-11-06

Hessel PA (2021)

Mesothelioma among vehicle mechanics: a controversy?.

Thorax pii:thoraxjnl-2021-217880 [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2021-11-05

Inamasu E, Tsuchiya T, Yamauchi M, et al (2021)

Anticancer agent α-sulfoquinovosyl-acylpropanediol enhances the radiosensitivity of human malignant mesothelioma in nude mouse models.

Journal of radiation research pii:6414417 [Epub ahead of print].

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly malignant disease that develops after asbestos exposure. Although the number of MPM cases is predicted to increase, no effective standard therapies have been established. The novel radiosensitizer α-sulfoquinovosyl-acylpropanediol (SQAP) enhances the effects of γ-radiation in human lung and prostate cancer cell lines and in animal models. In this study, we explored the radiosensitizing effect of SQAP and its mechanisms in MPM. The human MPM cell lines MSTO-211H and MESO-4 were implanted subcutaneously into the backs and thoracic cavities of immunodeficient KSN/Slc mice, then 2 mg/kg SQAP was intravenously administered with or without irradiation with a total body dose of 8 Gy. In both the orthotopic and ectopic xenograft murine models, the combination of irradiation plus SQAP delayed the implanted human MSTO-211H tumor growth. The analysis of the changes in the relative tumor volume of the MSTO-211H indicated a statistically significant difference after 8 Gy total body combined with 2 mg/kg SQAP, compared to both the untreated control (P = 0.0127) and the radiation treatment alone (P = 0.0171). After the treatment in each case, immunostaining of the harvested tumors revealed decreased cell proliferation, increased apoptosis and normalization of tumor blood vessels in the SQAP- and irradiation-treated group. Furthermore, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1 mRNA and protein expression were decreased, indicating reoxygenation in this group. In conclusion, SQAP improved hypoxic conditions in tumor tissue and may elicit a radiosensitizing effect in malignant mesothelioma models.

RevDate: 2021-11-03
CmpDate: 2021-11-03

Yamamoto S, Lee S, Ariyasu T, et al (2021)

Ingredients such as trehalose and hesperidin taken as supplements or foods reverse alterations in human T cells, reducing asbestos exposure-induced antitumor immunity.

International journal of oncology, 58(4):.

Exposure of human immune cells to asbestos causes a reduction in antitumor immunity. The present study aimed to investigate the recovery of reduced antitumor immunity by several ingredients taken as supplements or foods, including trehalose (Treh) and glycosylated hesperidin (gHesp). Peripheral blood CD4+ cells were stimulated with IL‑2, anti‑CD3 and anti‑CD28 antibodies for 3 days, followed by further stimulation with IL‑2 for 7 days. Subsequently, cells were stimulated with IL‑2 for an additional 28 days. During the 28 days, cells were cultured in the absence or presence of 50 µg/ml chrysotile asbestos fibers. In addition, cells were treated with 10 mM Treh or 10 µM gHesp. Following culture for 28 days, reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR was performed to assess the expression levels of transcription factors, cytokines and specific genes, including matrix metalloproteinase‑7 (MMP‑7), nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase (NNT) and C‑X‑C motif chemokine receptor 3, in unstimulated cells (fresh) and cells stimulated with PMA and ionomycin (stimuli). The results demonstrated that compared with the control group, chrysotile‑exposure induced alterations in MMP‑7, NNT and IL‑17A expression levels were not observed in the 'Treh' and 'gHesp' groups in stimulated cells. The results suggested that Treh and gHesp may reverse asbestos exposure‑induced reduced antitumor immunity in T helper cells. However, further investigation is required to confirm the efficacy of future trials involving the use of these compounds with high‑risk human populations exposed to asbestos, such as workers involved in asbestos‑handling activities.

RevDate: 2021-11-02

Gupta A, Vasileva A, S Manthri (2021)

The Rarest of the Rare: A Case of BAP1-Mutated Primary Peritoneal Mesothelioma.

Cureus, 13(9):e18380.

Malignant mesotheliomas (MM), as described are rare tumors that are mostly associated with occupational exposure to asbestos. They most commonly occur in the pleura. Other unfamiliar sites where they can occur are the peritoneum, pericardium, and tunica vaginalis. There is no significant correlation between the amount and duration of asbestos exposure to mesothelioma development as reported by various studies over the years. Apart from the environmental exposure, the development of malignant mesothelioma has been linked to a mutation in the BAP1 gene, which can predispose the patient to develop other malignancies associated with BAP1 mutation. We report a case of a 43-year-old man without any significant risk factors, who presented with a complaint of abdominal discomfort and was found to have malignant peritoneal mesothelioma (MPM). With a known familial history of mesothelioma and melanoma, our patient underwent genetic testing which revealed a mutation in BAP1, affirming the strong association with the development of MPM. Young patients who develop malignant mesothelioma without risk factors for MM should have germline testing for BAP1. This case report is unique and highlights a familial variant of mesothelioma, even rare with peritoneal mesothelioma in our patient.

RevDate: 2021-10-26

Danese MD, Daumont M, Nwokeji E, et al (2021)

Treatment patterns and outcomes in older patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma: Analyses of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare data.

Cancer reports (Hoboken, N.J.) [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Malignant mesothelioma is a rare neoplasm associated with asbestos exposure. Characterizing treatment patterns and outcomes of older patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is important to understand the unmet needs of this population.

AIM: To evaluate the demographic and clinical characteristics, treatment patterns, and outcomes among older patients diagnosed with advanced MPM in the United States between 2007 and 2013.

METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study using Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data linked with Medicare claims. We included patients who were age 66 or older at the time of their primary MPM diagnosis between 2007 and 2013 and followed them through 2014. Treated patients who received first-line chemotherapy with pemetrexed and platinum within 90 days of diagnosis, second-line, or third-line therapy were identified for evaluation of outcomes.

RESULTS: There were 666 older patients with advanced MPM, of whom 82% were male, 87% White, 78% stage IV, and 70% had no mobility limitation indicators at diagnosis. There were 262 patients who received first-line chemotherapy for advanced MPM, most of whom (80%; n = 209) received pemetrexed-platinum. Of these 209 patients, 41% (n = 86) initiated second-line therapy, and 26% (n = 22) initiated third-line therapy. Median overall survival for the cohort of 209 patients was 7.2 months. Patients with epithelioid histology had better median overall survival (12.2 months) compared with other histologies (4.4-5.6 months). Within 90 days of diagnosis of advanced MPM, 78% of patients were hospitalized, 52% visited an emergency department, and 21% had hospice care. The 2-year cost of care was over $100 000 for all patients with advanced MPM treated with first-line pemetrexed-platinum.

CONCLUSIONS: Although first-line systemic anticancer treatment was generally consistent with guidelines (e.g., pemetrexed-platinum), poor patient outcomes highlight the need for effective treatment options for older patients with advanced MPM.

RevDate: 2021-10-24

Shrestha S, Adhikary G, Naselsky W, et al (2021)

ACTL6A suppresses p21Cip1 tumor suppressor expression to maintain an aggressive mesothelioma cancer cell phenotype.

Oncogenesis, 10(10):70.

Mesothelioma is a poor prognosis cancer of the mesothelial lining that develops in response to exposure to various agents including asbestos. Actin-Like Protein 6A (ACTL6A, BAF53a) is a SWI/SNF regulatory complex protein that is elevated in cancer cells and has been implicated as a driver of cancer cell survival and tumor formation. In the present study, we show that ACTL6A drives mesothelioma cancer cell proliferation, spheroid formation, invasion, and migration, and that these activities are markedly attenuated by ACTL6A knockdown. ACTL6A expression reduces the levels of the p21Cip1 cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor and tumor suppressor protein. DNA binding studies show that ACTL6A interacts with Sp1 and p53 binding DNA response elements in the p21Cip1 gene promoter and that this is associated with reduced p21Cip1 promoter activity and p21Cip1 mRNA and protein levels. Moreover, ACTL6A suppression of p21Cip1 expression is required for maintenance of the aggressive mesothelioma cancer cell phenotype suggesting that p21Cip1 is a mediator of ACTL6A action. p53, a known inducer of p21Cip1 expression, is involved ACTL6A in regulation of p21Cip1 in some but not all mesothelioma cells. In addition, ACTL6A knockout markedly reduces tumor formation and this is associated with elevated tumor levels of p21Cip1. These findings suggest that ACTL6A suppresses p21Cip1 promoter activity to reduce p21Cip1 protein as a mechanism to maintain the aggressive mesothelioma cell phenotype.

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Ken Takahashi (2021)

Asbestos Diseases Research Institute - A New WHO Collaborating Center.

Industrial health, 59(3):143-145.

RevDate: 2021-10-22

Hiraku Y, Watanabe J, Kaneko A, et al (2021)

MicroRNA expression in lung tissues of asbestos-exposed mice: Upregulation of miR-21 and downregulation of tumor suppressor genes Pdcd4 and Reck.

Journal of occupational health, 63(1):e12282.

OBJECTIVES: Asbestos causes lung cancer and malignant mesothelioma in humans, but the precise mechanism has not been well understood. MicroRNA (miRNA) is a short non-coding RNA that suppresses gene expression and participates in human diseases including cancer. In this study, we examined the expression levels of miRNA and potential target genes in lung tissues of asbestos-exposed mice by microarray analysis.

METHODS: We intratracheally administered asbestos (chrysotile and crocidolite, 0.05 or 0.2 mg/instillation) to 6-week-old ICR male mice four times weekly. We extracted total RNA from lung tissues and performed microarray analysis for miRNA and gene expression. We also carried out real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry to confirm the results of microarray analysis.

RESULTS: Microarray analysis revealed that the expression levels of 14 miRNAs were significantly changed by chrysotile and/or crocidolite (>2-fold, P < .05). Especially, miR-21, an oncogenic miRNA, was significantly upregulated by both chrysotile and crocidolite. In database analysis, miR-21 was predicted to target tumor suppressor genes programmed cell death 4 (Pdcd4) and reversion-inducing-cysteine-rich protein with kazal motifs (Reck). Although real-time PCR showed that Pdcd4 was not significantly downregulated by asbestos exposure, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry revealed that PDCD4 expression was reduced especially by chrysotile. Reck was significantly downregulated by chrysotile in real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study demonstrating that miR-21 was upregulated and corresponding tumor suppressor genes were downregulated in lung tissues of asbestos-exposed animals. These molecular events are considered to be an early response to asbestos exposure and may contribute to pulmonary toxicity and carcinogenesis.

RevDate: 2021-10-22

Sonobe M, Kou Y, Yamazaki N, et al (2021)

Staged removal of artificial patches for thoracic empyema after extrapleural pneumonectomy for diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma.

General thoracic and cardiovascular surgery [Epub ahead of print].

A 69-year-old man with occupational exposure to asbestos was referred to our hospital with right diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma. He underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy with reconstruction of the pericardium and diaphragm using elongated polytetrafluoroethylene patches, followed by postoperative chemotherapy and chest wall irradiation. One year later, he was hospitalized because of a right empyema caused by Escherichia coli infection. As chest drainage and systemic antibiotics did not eliminate the abscess around the artificial patches, a Clagett window was created. To avoid mediastinal and liver overshift into the right thoracic cavity, we only performed partial resection of the diaphragm patch and incision of the artificial pericardium. After 19 days of irrigation and dressing change, the artificial patches were completely removed. Two months later, the patient provided a culture-negative sample and had an improved nutritional status; we therefore performed closure of the Clagett window with thoracoplasty. He did not experience recurrence of empyema.

RevDate: 2021-10-23

Kim EA (2021)

Standardized Incidence Ratio and Standardized Mortality Ratio of Malignant Mesothelioma in a Worker Cohort Using Employment Insurance Database in Korea.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(20): pii:ijerph182010682.

Malignant mesothelioma is one of the appropriate indicators for assessing the carcinogenic effects of asbestos. This study compared the risk ratio of mesothelioma according to the industry in the worker cohort. A cohort was constructed using the Korean employment insurance system during 1995-2017, enrolling 13,285,895 men and 10,452,705 women. The standardized mortality ratio (SMR) and standardized incidence ratio (SIR) were calculated using the indirect standardization method. There were 641 malignant mesotheliomas that occurred; the SIR was significantly higher than the general population (men 1.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.24-1.48, women 1.44, 95% CI: 1.23-1.7). More than half (52.8%) of malignant mesothelioma cases occurred in the manufacturing (n = 240, 38.6%, SIR: men, 1.72, 95% CI: 1.37-2.15, women, 3.31, 95% CI: 1.71-5.79) and construction industries (n = 88, 14.2%, SIR: men, 1.54 95% CI: 1.33-1.78, women, 1.62 95% CI: 1.25-2.11). The accommodation and food service (men, 2.56 95% CI: 1.28-4.58, women 1.35, 95% CI: 0.65-2.48) and real estate (men 1.34, 95% CI: 0.98-1.83, women 1.95, 95% CI: 0.78-4.02) also showed a high SIR, indicating the risk of asbestos-containing materials in old buildings. The incidence of malignant mesothelioma is likely to increase in the future, given the long latency of this disease. Moreover, long-term follow-up studies will be needed.

RevDate: 2021-10-23

Badger R, Park K, Pietrofesa RA, et al (2021)

Late Inflammation Induced by Asbestiform Fibers in Mice Is Ameliorated by a Small Molecule Synthetic Lignan.

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(20): pii:ijms222010982.

Exposure to Libby amphibole (LA) asbestos-like fibers is associated with increased risk of asbestosis, mesothelioma, pulmonary disease, and systemic autoimmune disease. LGM2605 is a small molecule antioxidant and free radical scavenger, with anti-inflammatory effects in various disease models. The current study aimed to determine whether the protective effects of LGM2605 persist during the late inflammatory phase post-LA exposure. Male and female C57BL/6 mice were administered daily LGM2605 (100 mg/kg) via gel cups for 3 days before and 14 days after a 200 µg LA given via intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection. Control mice were given unsupplemented gel cups and an equivalent dose of i.p. saline. On day 14 post-LA treatment, peritoneal lavage was assessed for immune cell influx, cytokine concentrations, oxidative stress biomarkers, and immunoglobulins. During the late inflammatory phase post-LA exposure, we noted an alteration in trafficking of both innate and adaptive immune cells, increased pro-inflammatory cytokine concentrations, induction of immunoglobulin isotype switching, and increased oxidized guanine species. LGM2605 countered these changes similarly among male and female mice, ameliorating late inflammation and altering immune responses in late post-LA exposure. These data support possible efficacy of LGM2605 in the prolonged treatment of LA-associated disease and other inflammatory conditions.

RevDate: 2021-10-19

Sánchez-Trujillo L, Sanz-Anquela JM, MA Ortega (2021)

Use of the Minimum Basic Data Set as a tool for the epidemiological surveillance of mesothelioma.

Anales del sistema sanitario de Navarra, 0(0): [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Mesothelioma is a very aggressive tumor that appears after several decades of asbestos exposure. The Minimum Basic Data Set (MBDS) has been validated for the incidence of mesothelioma in Italy, but not in Spain. The objectives of this investigation are: to estimate the prevalence, incidence and mortality of mesothelioma in the Community of Madrid (CM); to evaluate the distribution of this risk within the territory; and to explore validity of the MBDS in the epidemiological surveillance of mesothelioma.

METHODS: Prevalence, incidence and mortality mesothelioma rates were calculated for the CM from data of the MBDS (2016 and 2017), and mortality data of the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) for the same period. The geographical distribution of cases and deaths, and its correlation at municipal level was studied. Statistical analysis with R and Excel tools was carried out.

RESULTS: The incidence of mesothelioma in the CM was higher than in previous years. Mortality estimated by the MBDS and calculated using INE data for 2016 were similar in the CM. The correlation between the geographical patterns of risk of mesothelioma obtained from the two sources was high (r = 0.86). The aggregation of cases continues in municipalities in the south, detecting the maximum risk in Aranjuez.

CONCLUSION: The MBDS and INE are good resources for monitoring the risk of mesothelioma. New studies that investigate the aggregation of cases in Aranjuez are required.

RevDate: 2021-10-19

Sato T, Nakanishi H, Akao K, et al (2021)

Three newly established immortalized mesothelial cell lines exhibit morphological phenotypes corresponding to malignant mesothelioma epithelioid, intermediate, and sarcomatoid types, respectively.

Cancer cell international, 21(1):546.

BACKGROUND: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a very aggressive tumor that develops from mesothelial cells, mainly due to asbestos exposure. MM is categorized into three major histological subtypes: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic, with the biphasic subtype containing both epithelioid and sarcomatoid components. Patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma usually show a poorer prognosis than those with epithelioid mesothelioma, but it is not clear how these morphological phenotypes are determined or changed during the oncogenic transformation of mesothelial cells.

METHODS: We introduced the E6 and E7 genes of human papillomavirus type 16 and human telomerase reverse transcriptase gene in human peritoneal mesothelial cells and established three morphologically different types of immortalized mesothelial cell lines.

RESULTS: HOMC-B1 cells exhibited epithelioid morphology, HOMC-A4 cells were fibroblast-like, spindle-shaped, and HOMC-D4 cells had an intermediate morphology, indicating that these three cell lines closely mimicked the histological subtypes of MM. Gene expression profiling revealed increased expression of NOD-like receptor signaling-related genes in HOMC-A4 cells. Notably, the combination treatment of HOMC-D4 cells with TGF-β and IL-1β induced a morphological change from intermediate to sarcomatoid morphology.

CONCLUSIONS: Our established cell lines are useful for elucidating the fundamental mechanisms of mesothelial cell transformation and mesothelial-to-mesenchymal transition.

RevDate: 2021-10-17

Nowak AK (2021)

CONFIRMing single-drug immune checkpoint blockade efficacy in mesothelioma.

The Lancet. Oncology pii:S1470-2045(21)00516-7 [Epub ahead of print].

RevDate: 2021-10-15

Ebbinghaus-Mier D, Ebbinghaus R, Prager HM, et al (2021)

[Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis of the testis-a histopathological finding with far-reaching consequences].

Der Urologe. Ausg. A [Epub ahead of print].

Mesotheliomas are very aggressive tumors, almost exclusively caused by asbestos. Four of the 5 mesotheliomas assessed in the years 2014-2020 were recognized as occupational diseases, the 5th case was discontinued due to lack of the patient's cooperation. Surgical exposure of the testis was performed under the suspected diagnoses of hydrocele (n = 3), spermatocele (n = 1) as well as "unknown" (n = 1). This proves that a histopathological examination of removed tissue is the gold standard in scrotal interventions. Every mesothelioma must always be reported as an occupational disease.

RevDate: 2021-10-15

Paustenbach D, Brew D, Ligas S, et al (2021)

A critical review of the 2020 EPA risk assessment for chrysotile and its many shortcomings.

Critical reviews in toxicology [Epub ahead of print].

From 2018 to 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performed a risk evaluation of chrysotile asbestos to evaluate the hazards of asbestos-containing products (e.g. encapsulated products), including brakes and gaskets, allegedly currently sold in the United States. During the public review period, the EPA received more than 100 letters commenting on the proposed risk evaluation. The Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals (SACC), which peer reviewed the document, asked approximately 100 questions of the EPA that they expected to be addressed prior to publication of the final version of the risk assessment on 30 December 2020. After careful analysis, the authors of this manuscript found many significant scientific shortcomings in both the EPA's draft and final versions of the chrysotile risk evaluation. First, the EPA provided insufficient evidence regarding the current number of chrysotile-containing brakes and gaskets being sold in the United States, which influences the need for regulatory oversight. Second, the Agency did not give adequate consideration to the more than 200 air samples detailed in the published literature of auto mechanics who changed brakes in the 1970-1989 era. Third, the Agency did not consider more than 15 epidemiology studies indicating that exposures to encapsulated chrysotile asbestos in brakes and gaskets, which were generally in commerce from approximately 1950-1985, did not increase the incidence of any asbestos-related disease. Fourth, the concern about chrysotile asbestos being a mesothelioma hazard was based on populations in two facilities where mixed exposure to chrysotile and commercial amphibole asbestos (amosite and crocidolite) occurred. All 8 cases of pleural cancer and mesothelioma in the examined populations arose in facilities where amphiboles were present. It was therefore inappropriate to rely on these cohorts to predict the health risks of exposure to short fiber chrysotile, especially of those fibers filled with phenolic resins. Fifth, the suggested inhalation unit risk (IUR) for chrysotile asbestos was far too high since it was not markedly different than for amosite, despite the fact that the amphiboles are a far more potent carcinogen. Sixth, the approach to low dose modeling was not the most appropriate one in several respects, but, without question, it should have accounted for the background rate of mesothelioma in the general population. Just one month after this assessment was published, the National Academies of Science notified the EPA that the Agency's systematic review process was flawed. The result of the EPA's chrysotile asbestos risk evaluation is that society can expect dozens of years of scientifically unwarranted litigation. Due to an aging population and because some fraction of the population is naturally predisposed to mesothelioma given the presence of various genetic mutations in DNA repair mechanisms (e.g. BAP1 and others), the vast majority of mesotheliomas in the post-2035 era are expected to be spontaneous and unrelated in any way to exposure to asbestos. Due to the EPA's analysis, it is our belief that those who handled brakes and gaskets in the post-1985 era may now believe that those exposures were the cause of their mesothelioma, when a risk assessment based on the scientific weight of evidence would indicate otherwise.

RevDate: 2021-10-18
CmpDate: 2021-10-18

Magnavita N, Congedo MT, Di Prinzio RR, et al (2021)

War journalism: an occupational exposure.

BMJ case reports, 14(10): pii:14/10/e245165.

Apart from the risk of accidents, war theatres present a hazard related to numerous long-lasting toxic agents. For 10 years, a >60-year-old male journalist worked in war theatres in the Far and Near East where he was exposed to asbestos and other toxic substances (metals, silica, clays, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other organic substances) contained in dust and smoke of destroyed buildings. More than 15 years later, he developed a mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the soft palate and, subsequently, a pleural malignant mesothelioma. The safety of war journalists should focus not only on preventing the risk of being killed, but also on providing protection from toxic and carcinogenic agents. Exposure to substances released during the destruction of buildings can also pose a carcinogenic risk for survivors.

RevDate: 2021-10-14

Angelini A, E Chellini (2021)

[Inventory of occupational exposure to asbestos with particular reference to Tuscan workers].

Epidemiologia e prevenzione, 45:1-120.

This Catalogue is a collection of information on the use of raw asbestos and asbestos-containing materials used in several industries and occupational activities, with particular attention to the situation of Tuscany, a region of Central Italy. The work was developed at the Institute for Cancer Research, Prevention and Clinical Network (ISPRO) of Florence, where epidemiologic research and surveillance activities have been developing since 1988 and where the coordination and evaluation of the regional health surveillance programme provided to past asbestos workers started in 2016 and is still ongoing. The Catalogue aims at being a working tool for all health professionals engaged in examining and classifying the occupational asbestos exposures of subjects both affected by diseases that could be associated to this carcinogen and examined within the regional health surveillance programme. It is necessary for the health personnel engaged in the above-mentioned activities to know or to have the possibility to find exact and detailed data on asbestos exposure by occupational sector. These data are briefly described in the 29 factsheets this Catalogue consists of. In each factsheet, the presence and every use of asbestos are described, with reference to a precise occupational sector. Several occupational sectors can be considered together because of analogies on asbestos exposure. Occupations are considered on the basis of existing evidence on the use of raw asbestos or asbestos-containing materials (as semi-finished or finished products or as auxiliary materials in production processes). Besides the presence and use of asbestos, a description of the possible exposures of workers is reported. Sources of information were scientific and grey literature as well as the 7,187 occupational histories of mesothelioma registered by the specific Tuscan registry. Some factsheets have been revised and enhanced by Italian experts on the asbestos exposure with a specific competence in the examined sectors. Each factsheet includes also questions to be addressed to workers in order to examine in depth their possible asbestos exposure. For those who would like to expand their knowledge on this topic, references are reported both at the end of each factsheet and at the end of the volume. In all industrialized countries, also in those which have not already banned asbestos use, a decrease in the use of this material and in the relative exposure have been observing since the end of the Seventies, few years after the general consensus within the scientific community on asbestos carcinogenicity. This decreasing trend has been becoming greater and greater since the end of the Eighties, when more restrictive regulations have been approved and applied, especially in occupational settings. Nevertheless, nowadays asbestos-related diseases are still diagnosed due to past exposures, although during next decade a decreasing incidence of malignant mesothelioma - the cancer most specifically related to this carcinogen and characterized by a very bad prognosis and the longest latency - could be observed. Particular attention will be paid to jobs regarding renovation of old buildings containing asbestos and to decontamination activities. In conclusion, this Catalogue is a working tool - although it is not exhaustive and could be upgraded with new information - for all professionals engaged in asbestos risk prevention activities as health personnel, personnel of insurance companies, employers, and employee representatives.

RevDate: 2021-10-13

Kuroda A (2021)

Recent progress and perspectives on the mechanisms underlying Asbestos toxicity.

Genes and environment : the official journal of the Japanese Environmental Mutagen Society, 43(1):46.

Most cases of mesothelioma are known to result from exposure to asbestos fibers in the environment or occupational ambient air. The following questions regarding asbestos toxicity remain partially unanswered: (i) why asbestos entering the alveoli during respiration exerts toxicity in the pleura; and (ii) how asbestos causes mesothelioma, even though human mesothelial cells are easily killed upon exposure to asbestos. As for the latter question, it is now thought that the frustrated phagocytosis of asbestos fibers by macrophages prolongs inflammatory responses and gives rise to a "mutagenic microenvironment" around mesothelial cells, resulting in their malignant transformation. Based on epidemiological and genetic studies, a carcinogenic model has been proposed in which BRCA1-associated protein 1 mutations are able to suppress cell death in mesothelial cells and increase genomic instability in the mutagenic microenvironment. This leads to additional mutations, such as CDKN2A [p16], NF2, TP53, LATS2, and SETD2, which are associated with mesothelioma carcinogenesis. Regarding the former question, the receptors involved in the intracellular uptake of asbestos and the mechanism of transfer of inhaled asbestos from the alveoli to the pleura are yet to be elucidated. Further studies using live-cell imaging techniques will be critical to fully understanding the mechanisms underlying asbestos toxicity.

RevDate: 2021-10-14
CmpDate: 2021-10-14

Ahmad Beshr K, Mohammad Sami A, Ahmad G, et al (2021)

A rare case of benign multicystic peritoneal mesothelioma misdiagnosed as hydatid cyst found in the liver parenchyma and abdomen cavity of a male with asbestos exposure.

BMC gastroenterology, 21(1):374.

BACKGROUND: Benign Multicystic Peritoneal Mesothelioma (BMPM) is one of the rarest diseases in medicine with only more than 200 cases worldwide. This paper aims to report a case of Benign Multicystic Peritoneal Mesothelioma that strangely arose from the liver and was long treated as Hydatid cyst. The case also had many risk factors including asbestos exposure that had not yet been linked with Benign Multicystic Peritoneal Mesothelioma.

CASE PRESENTATION: We report a case of a 62 years old male with a history of a perforated peptic ulcer and a cystic mass in the liver that was misdiagnosed as hydatid cyst 7 years ago. He presented with generalized abdominal pain and bloating. Image studies showed many cystic formations filled with clear fluid. An en bloc surgery was performed and a pathologic study showed a multiloculated mass lined by flat or cuboidal epithelium leading to the diagnosis of BMPM. A follow up was scheduled after 3 months revealed total recurrence.

CONCLUSION: BMPM resembles many other cystic lesions in the abdomen and should be taken into consideration when dealing with nontypical cystic formations. Its diagnostic and treatment methods are still hazy making this disease difficult to approach.

RevDate: 2021-10-13

Fazzo L, Binazzi A, Ferrante D, et al (2021)

Burden of Mortality from Asbestos-Related Diseases in Italy.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(19): pii:ijerph181910012.

Asbestos is one of the major worldwide occupational carcinogens. The global burden of asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) was estimated around 231,000 cases/year. Italy was one of the main European asbestos producers until the 1992 ban. The WHO recommended national programs, including epidemiological surveillance, to eliminate ARDs. The present paper shows the estimate of the burden of mortality from ARDs in Italy, established for the first time. National standardized rates of mortality from mesothelioma and asbestosis and their temporal trends, based on the National Institute of Statistics database, were computed. Deaths from lung cancer attributable to asbestos exposure were estimated using population-based case-control studies. Asbestos-related lung and ovarian cancer deaths attributable to occupational exposure were estimated, considering the Italian occupational cohort studies. In the 2010-2016 period, 4400 deaths/year attributable to asbestos were estimated: 1515 from mesothelioma, 58 from asbestosis, 2830 from lung and 16 from ovarian cancers. The estimates based on occupational cohorts showed that each year 271 deaths from mesothelioma, 302 from lung cancer and 16 from ovarian cancer were attributable to occupational asbestos exposure in industrial sectors with high asbestos levels. The important health impact of asbestos in Italy, 10-25 years after the ban, was highlighted. These results suggest the need for appropriate interventions in terms of prevention, health care and social security at the local level and could contribute to the global estimate of ARDs.

RevDate: 2021-10-13

Kwon SC, Lee SS, Kang MS, et al (2021)

The Epidemiologic Characteristics of Malignant Mesothelioma Cases in Korea: Findings of the Asbestos Injury Relief System from 2011-2015.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(19): pii:ijerph181910007.

(1) Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the epidemiological characteristics of malignant mesothelioma in Korea by investigating cases compensated under the asbestos injury relief system. (2) Methods: A total of 407 compensated cases between 2011 and 2015 were reviewed using medical records and resident registrations in order to investigate the dates of diagnosis and death. Asbestos exposure and patients' general characteristics were investigated through face-to-face interviews. The standardized incidence ratio was calculated as the number of observations from 2005 to 2014 per exposure region in Korea, using the mid-annual population of each region in 2009 as the standard population. (3) Results: Among the 407 cases, 65.1% were male. The pleura and peritoneum were affected in 76.9% and 23.1% of cases, respectively. For peritoneal mesothelioma, the median survival duration was longer (p = 0.005), and the proportion of affected women was higher than that in pleural mesothelioma. The standardized incidence ratio (95% CI) by province of primary exposure was Chungnam 3.33 (2.51-4.35), Ulsan 1.85 (0.97-3.21), and Seoul 1.32 (1.06-1.63). (4) Conclusions: Although the representativeness of the data is limited, it is sufficient to assume the epidemiologic characteristics of malignant mesothelioma, help improve the compensation system, and contribute to future policies.

RevDate: 2021-10-13

Yuen ML, Zhuang L, Rath EM, et al (2021)

The Role of E-Cadherin and microRNA on FAK Inhibitor Response in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM).

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(19): pii:ijms221910225.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive malignancy with limited effective treatment options. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitors have been shown to efficiently suppress MPM cell growth initially, with limited utility in the current clinical setting. In this study, we utilised a large collection of MPM cell lines and MPM tissue samples to study the role of E-cadherin (CDH1) and microRNA on the efficacy of FAK inhibitors in MPM. The immunohistochemistry (IHC) results showed that the majority of MPM FFPE samples exhibited either the absence of, or very low, E-cadherin protein expression in MPM tissue. We showed that MPM cells with high CDH1 mRNA levels exhibited resistance to the FAK inhibitor PND-1186. In summary, MPM cells that did not express CDH1 mRNA were sensitive to PND-1186, and MPM cells that retained CDH1 mRNA were resistant. A cell cycle analysis showed that PND-1186 induced cell cycle disruption by inducing the G2/M arrest of MPM cells. A protein-protein interaction study showed that EGFR is linked to the FAK pathway, and a target scan of the microRNAs revealed that microRNAs (miR-17, miR221, miR-222, miR137, and miR148) interact with EGFR 3'UTR. Transfection of MPM cells with these microRNAs sensitised the CHD1-expressing FAK-inhibitor-resistant MPM cells to the FAK inhibitor.

RevDate: 2021-10-06
CmpDate: 2021-10-06

Fujishima F, Konosu-Fukaya S, Nabeshima K, et al (2021)

Histological and immunohistochemical characteristics and p16 status studied by FISH in six incidentally detected cases of well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma of the peritoneum.

Indian journal of pathology & microbiology, 64(2):277-281.

Well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (WDPM) is an uncommon mesothelial neoplasm, which is generally regarded as benign or indolent in terms of its clinical behavior. However, details about WDPM have remained relatively unknown. Therefore, in this study, we examined six incidentally detected cases of WDPM of the peritoneum. All six cases were surgically excised, without any additional therapeutic measures. None of the cases showed recurrence. All six cases presented single lesions and the tumor sizes ranged from 2 to 10 mm. Histologically, all six cases exhibited papillary proliferation of cytologically bland mesothelial cells with a fibroconnective tissue core. One of the cases (Case 6) presented small invasive foci in the stalk. The tumor cells were immunohistochemically positive for mesothelial markers and negative for GLUT-1, p53, and CD146. The Ki-67 labeling index of the tumor cells was lower than 5% at the hot spots. All samples were BAP1-positive. None of the samples presented p16 homozygous deletion, as assessed by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). None of the patients deceased due to WDPM. However, in Case 3, death occurred due to pancreatic cancer. The results of this study indicate the importance of analyzing immunohistochemical markers and p16 status to diagnose WDPM accurately.

RevDate: 2021-10-04

Gupta N, Soni A, Mahajan R, et al (2021)

Peritoneal malignant mesothelioma: Slippery like an eel to diagnose on cytology-case series of 3 cases.

Journal of the American Society of Cytopathology pii:S2213-2945(21)00242-8 [Epub ahead of print].

INTRODUCTION: Peritoneal malignant mesothelioma is an extremely rare tumor and is a difficult diagnosis to be made on cytology alone. We report 3 cases where the cytologic features were misdiagnosed as carcinoma/lymphoma but histopathology and immunohistochemistry (IHC) established the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma.

CLINICAL DETAILS: Case 1 was a 60-year-old man with multiloculated ascites and omental caking. Peritoneal fluid was reported as malignant on cytology but was misclassified as adenocarcinoma. Case 2, a 45-year-old man with ascites and peritoneal nodularity, radiologically mimicking peritoneal carcinomatosis, was also reported positive for malignancy on ascitic fluid cytology. Fine-needle aspiration (FNAC) from omental fat revealed signet ring cells, thus misleading to cytologic diagnosis of adenocarcinoma. Case 3 was a 63-year-old man with perisplenic mass with extensive omental caking and peritoneal nodularity that was also suspected to be peritoneal carcinomatosis on radiology. FNAC smears from perisplenic mass showed sheets of plasmacytoid cells. On cytology, the differential diagnoses offered were neuroendocrine tumor or non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma was established only after IHC on histopathologic sections in all these cases. None of our patients had history of prior asbestos exposure.

CONCLUSION: In such clinical scenarios, with radiology suggesting peritoneal carcinomatosis, the cytologic features need corroboration by IHC/fluorescence in situ hybridization on cell block or biopsy to correctly identify malignant mesothelioma and differentiate it from metastatic carcinomatous deposits and benign mesothelial proliferation.

RevDate: 2021-10-01

Chen M, Wang H, Zhang J, et al (2020)

Distribution of Asbestos Enterprises and Asbestosis Cases - China, 1997-2019.

China CDC weekly, 2(18):305-309.

Asbestos is classified as a Class I Carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) because exposure causes mesothelioma and lung cancer in addition to asbestosis and plaques. So far, asbestos has been banned in 67 countries, but chrysotile, a commonly encountered form of asbestos, is still widely used in China and most developing countries. Most asbestos-caused cancers are not reported, recorded, and compensated in many countries.

What is added by this report?: Enterprises manufacturing asbestos products have been migrating from economically developed Eastern China to relatively underdeveloped central and western regions between 2010 and 2019. Asbestosis cases reported in Tianjin, Beijing, Shandong, Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, and Sichuan accounted for a large proportion of the total cases in China, which was inconsistent with the distribution of asbestos-related enterprises (AREs). The reported asbestosis cases versus total pneumoconiosis cases declined from 2.81% to 0.39% from 2006-2017, and this proportion reached 0.69% in 2018.

Robust occupational and environmental health assessments and reporting are needed to define the epidemiology of asbestos-related lung diseases, and management of using asbestos and existing products containing asbestos need strengthening and follow-up. Enterprises should be encouraged to use safer substitutes and gradually ban asbestos materials in China.

RevDate: 2021-09-30

Nakagawa K, Kijima T, Okada M, et al (2021)

Phase 2 Study of YS110, a Recombinant Humanized Anti-CD26 Monoclonal Antibody, in Japanese Patients With Advanced Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

JTO clinical and research reports, 2(6):100178 pii:S2666-3643(21)00037-0.

Introduction: YS110, a humanized monoclonal antibody with a high affinity to CD26, exhibited promising antitumor activity and was generally well-tolerated in the phase 1 part of a phase 1 and 2 Japanese trial in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Here we report the results of the phase 2 part of the study.

Methods: The patients included were aged 20 years and older, had histologically confirmed MPM, were refractory to or intolerant of existing antineoplastic agents, and were not candidates for standard therapy. YS110 6 mg/kg, determined in the phase 1 dose-determination part, was given in 6-weekly cycles (5 × once-weekly infusions, followed by a 1-wk rest).

Results: The study included 31 patients (median age = 68 y, 90.3% men); 64.5% had stage IV MPM, 90.3% had greater than or equal to 20% CD26 expression in tumor tissue, and 38.7% (12 patients) had previously received nivolumab. The 6-month disease control rate was 3.2%. The best overall response was partial response in one patient and stable disease in 14 patients. The median progression-free survival was 2.8 months (both in patients who had and had not previously received nivolumab-groups A and B, respectively). Respective progression-free survival rates at 6 months were 9.1% and 31.6% in groups A and B. The median overall survival was 9.7 months. A total of 30 patients (96.8%) had at least one adverse event. Common treatment-related adverse events were infusion-related reaction (16.1%), hiccups (9.7%), and interstitial lung disease (9.7%). There were no treatment-related deaths.

Conclusions: The 6-month disease control rate did not exceed the predefined threshold, but YS110 revealed modest efficacy in response rate as salvage therapy in difficult-to-treat patients with MPM. YS110 was generally well tolerated.

RevDate: 2021-09-30

Ahmadzada T, Cooper WA, Holmes M, et al (2020)

Retrospective Evaluation of the Use of Pembrolizumab in Malignant Mesothelioma in a Real-World Australian Population.

JTO clinical and research reports, 1(4):100075 pii:S2666-3643(20)30098-9.

Introduction: We investigated the efficacy and toxicity of pembrolizumab in patients with mesothelioma from a real-world Australian population. We aimed to determine clinical factors and predictive biomarkers that could help select patients who are likely to benefit from pembrolizumab.

Method: Patients with mesothelioma who were treated with pembrolizumab as part of the Insurance and Care New South Wales compensation scheme were included. Clinical information was collected retrospectively. Tumor biomarkers such as programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), BAP1, and CD3-positive (CD3+) tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) were examined using archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor samples.

Results: A total of 98 patients were included with a median age of 70 years (range, 46-91 y); 92% were men; 76% had epithelioid subtype; 21% had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0. Pembrolizumab was used as second-line or subsequent-line treatment in 94 patients and as first-line treatment in four patients. The overall response rate was 18%, and the disease control rate was 56%. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4.8 months (95% confidence interval: 3.6-6.2), and the median overall survival (OS) was 9.5 months (95% confidence interval: 6.6-13.7). Immune-related adverse events occurred in 27% of patients, of which nine (9%) were of grade 3 or higher. In the multivariable analysis, factors independently associated with longer PFS included baseline ECOG status of 0 (median PFS: 12 mo versus 4 mo, p < 0.01) and PD-L1 tumor proportion score of greater than or equal to 1% (median PFS: 6 mo versus 4 mo, p < 0.01). Baseline platelet count of less than or equal to 400 × 109/liter was independently associated with longer PFS and OS (median PFS: 6 mo versus 2 mo, p = 0.05; median OS: 10 mo versus 4 mo, p = 0.01), whereas lack of pretreatment dexamethasone was independently associated with OS but not PFS (median OS: 10 mo versus 3 mo, p = 0.01). The odds of response were higher for patients with baseline ECOG status of 0 (p = 0.02) and with greater than or equal to 5% CD3+ TILs in the tumor (p < 0.01). PD-L1 expression, BAP1 loss, and CD3+ TILs in the stroma were not significantly associated with the overall response rate.

Conclusions: Immunotherapy is a reasonable treatment option for patients with mesothelioma. Our results are comparable to other clinical trials investigating pembrolizumab in mesothelioma in terms of response. Good performance status assessment remains the most robust predictor for patient outcomes. CD3+ TILs in the tumor may help select patients that are likely to respond to pembrolizumab, whereas factors such as PD-L1 expression, baseline platelet count, and lack of pretreatment dexamethasone may help predict survival outcomes from pembrolizumab treatment.

RevDate: 2021-09-28

Musso V, Diotti C, Palleschi A, et al (2021)

Management of Pleural Effusion Secondary to Malignant Mesothelioma.

Journal of clinical medicine, 10(18): pii:jcm10184247.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly aggressive pleural tumour which has been epidemiologically linked to occupational exposure to asbestos. MPM is often associated with pleural effusion, which is a common cause of morbidity and whose management remains a clinical challenge. In this review, we analysed the literature regarding the diagnosis and therapeutic options of pleural effusion secondary to mesothelioma. Our aim was to provide a comprehensive view on this subject, and a new algorithm was proposed as a practical aid to clinicians dealing with patients suffering from pleural effusion.

RevDate: 2021-09-28

Štrbac D, V Dolžan (2021)

Matrix Metalloproteinases as Biomarkers and Treatment Targets in Mesothelioma: A Systematic Review.

Biomolecules, 11(9): pii:biom11091272.

Metalloproteinases (MMPs) have an important role in tissue remodeling and have been shown to have an effect on tumor progression, invasion, metastasis formation, and apoptosis in several tumors, including mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare tumor arising from pleura and peritoneum and is frequently associated with asbestos exposure. We have performed a systematic search of PubMed.gov and ClinicalTrials.gov databases to retrieve and review three groups of studies: studies of MMPs expression in tumor tissue or body fluids in patients with mesothelioma, studies of MMPs genetic variability, and studies of MMPs as potential novel drug targets in mesothelioma. Several studies of MMPs in mesothelioma tissues reported a link between higher expression levels of commonly studied MMPs and clinical parameters, such as overall survival. Fewer studies have investigated genetic variability of MMP genes. Nevertheless, these studies suggested that certain genetic variants in MMP genes can have either protective or tumor-promoting effects on mesothelioma patients. MMPs have been also reported as novel drug targets, but so far no clinical trials of MMP inhibitors are registered in mesothelioma. In conclusion, MMPs play an important role in mesothelioma, but further studies are needed to elucidate the potentials of MMPs as biomarkers and drug targets in mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-09-27

Di Basilio D, Shigemura J, F Guglielmucci (2021)

Commentary: SARS-CoV-2 and Asbestos Exposure: Can Our Experience With Mesothelioma Patients Help Us Understand the Psychological Consequences of COVID-19 and Develop Interventions?.

Frontiers in psychology, 12:720160.

RevDate: 2021-09-23
CmpDate: 2021-09-23

Barbieri PG, Calisti R, C Calabresi (2021)

[Pleural malignant mesotheliomas from environmental exposures to asbestos In Italy].

Epidemiologia e prevenzione, 45(4):289-295.

Pleural mesothelioma clusters from outdoor environmental exposure have been highlighted also in Italy and, on the basis of epidemiological surveillance coordinated by the Italian National Mesothelioma Register, their frequency has been estimated at about 4.5%. Epidemiological studies and evaluations of some regional mesothelioma registers have made it possible to highlight that the dispersion of asbestos fibers in the outdoor environment was the only ascertained cause of mesothelioma in subjects from asbestos-cement factories, from the Balangero mine (Piedmont Region), from some serpentine rock quarries with tremolite outcrops in the Southern Apennines and in Alta Val di Susa (Piedmont Region); from chrysotile and serpentine caves in Valmalenco (Lombardy Region). Furthermore, cases of pleural mesothelioma were clearly caused by environmental pollution from fluoroedenite fibers in Biancavilla (Sicily Region). On the other hand, regional mesothelioma registers have also reported other circumstances of environmental asbestos exposure, like in the case of steel industry, shipbuilding, chemical plants, railway lines, and repair/demolition of railway carriages. However, these reports have not found confirmation on the basis of ad-hoc studies and it is likely that there is a lack of homogeneity in the assessment of individual cases. Apart from the scenarios which have been the subject of ad-hoc studies, the assessment of the causal role of environmental exposure to "in place" asbestos in the onset of pleural mesothelioma is problematic without an effort to more carefully examine the circumstances of possible exposure, harmonization of the attribution criteria used in the individual regional registers, analytical assessment of the impact of such exposure on the risk of onset of mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-09-21

Khatib S, Asad O, Asad H, et al (2021)

A Rare Case of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in a Young Healthy Male Without Asbestos Exposure.

Cureus, 13(8):e17199.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly aggressive malignant tumor that arises from mesothelial cells of pleural cavity. The main risk factor for MPM is asbestos exposure with most cases discovered in elderly males after a long latency period. However, here we report a rare case of MPM diagnosed in a healthy young male patient without significant asbestos exposure. We report the case of an otherwise healthy 47-year-old male who presented with one week of exertional dyspnea and chest pain. Chest X-ray showed unilateral large pleural effusion. Chest CT scan revealed confluent right hilar mass and pleural thickening. Pleural fluid analysis showed exudative features. Cytology was negative for malignant cells. Core tissue biopsy showed features of epithelioid mesothelioma. Although most cases of MPM have been reported in elderly male patients with significant asbestos exposure, more research is needed to explain the pathogenesis of MPM in young patients without asbestos exposure.

RevDate: 2021-09-22

Airoldi C, Magnani C, Lazzarato F, et al (2021)

Environmental asbestos exposure and clustering of malignant mesothelioma in community: a spatial analysis in a population-based case-control study.

Environmental health : a global access science source, 20(1):103.

BACKGROUND: Neighborhood exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing malignant mesothelioma (MM) in residents who live near asbestos mines and asbestos product plants. The area of Casale Monferrato (Northwest Italy) was impacted by several sources of asbestos environmental pollution, due to the presence of the largest Italian asbestos cement (AC) plant. In the present study, we examined the spatial variation of MM risk in an area with high levels of asbestos pollution and secondly, and we explored the pattern of clustering.

METHODS: A population-based case-control study conducted between 2001 and 2006 included 200 cases and 348 controls. Demographic and occupational data along with residential information were recorded. Bivariate Kernel density estimation was used to map spatial variation in disease risk while an adjusted logistic model was applied to estimate the impact of residential distance from the AC plant. Kulldorf test and Cuzick Edward test were then performed.

RESULTS: One hundred ninety-six cases and 322 controls were included in the analyses. The contour plot of the cases to controls ratio showed a well-defined peak of MM incidence near the AC factory, and the risk decreased monotonically in all directions when large bandwidths were used. However, considering narrower smoothing parameters, several peaks of increased risk were reported. A constant trend of decreasing OR with increasing distance was observed, with estimates of 10.9 (95% CI 5.32-22.38) and 10.48 (95%CI 4.54-24.2) for 0-5 km and 5-10 km, respectively (reference > 15 km). Finally, a significant (p < 0.0001) excess of cases near the pollution source was identified and cases are spatially clustered relative to the controls until 13 nearest neighbors.

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found an increasing pattern of mesothelioma risk in the area around a big AC factory and we detected secondary clusters of cases due to local exposure points, possibly associated to the use of asbestos materials.

RevDate: 2021-09-14

Torkki P, Paajanen J, Kytö V, et al (2021)

Evidence for marked underutilization of insurance billing in malignant pleural mesothelioma in Finland.

Thoracic cancer [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Substantial variation in health care costs for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) has previously been identified.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We analyzed the changes in health care costs in MPM in Finland during 2002-2012. Finland has low-threshold public health care and a mandatory Workers' Compensation scheme that covers all occupational-related disease expenses. The costs include treatment costs for inpatients, hospice care, medication costs, rehabilitation costs, and travel costs. All costs are expressed in 2012 prices, adjusted using the consumer price index.

RESULTS: A total of 907 MPM patients were included in the study. Mean duration of inpatient episodes increased 7% per year from 2002 to 2012, correlating with total costs (R2 = 0.861, p < 0.05). The annual total costs for treatment increased from 1.7 to 4.3 m€ during the study period and the cost per patient from 27 000 to 43 000 €. The overall costs increased progressively by the number of procedures performed. In patients who had been compensated for occupational cause by Workers' Compensation Center, only 36% of the overall care costs were billed from the insurance company. Billing of inpatient costs was 86% in these patients.

CONCLUSION: During the study period, we found that the costs of MPM increased more than the average health care costs. This may be because of advanced diagnostic workup or more costly treatment (e.g., pemetrexed). Moreover, only one-third of all health care costs are charged to Workers' Compensation Insurance.

RevDate: 2021-09-14

Xie D, Hu J, Wu T, et al (2021)

Four Immune-Related Genes (FN1, UGCG, CHPF2 and THBS2) as Potential Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarkers for Carbon Nanotube-Induced Mesothelioma.

International journal of general medicine, 14:4987-5003.

Background: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), a highly aggressive cancer, was mainly attributed to asbestos exposure. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) share similar negative features to asbestos, provoking concerns about their contribution to MPM. This study was used to identify genes associated with CNT-induced MPM.

Methods: Microarray datasets were available in the Gene Expression Omnibus database. The limma method was used to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in CNT-exposed MeT5A cells (GSE48855) or mice (GSE51636). Weighted correlation network analysis (WGCNA) and protein-protein interaction (PPI) network construction were conducted to screen hub DEGs. The mRNA expression levels of hub DEGs were validated on MPM samples of GSE51024, GSE2549 and GSE42977 datasets, and their diagnostic efficacy was determined by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. The prognostic values of hub DEGs were assessed using online tools based on The Cancer Genome Atlas data. Their functions were annotated by Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery (DAVID) enrichment and correlation with immune cells and markers.

Results: WGCNA identified that two modules were associated with disease status. Thirty-one common DEGs in the GSE48855 and GSE51636 datasets were overlapped with the genes in these two modules. Twenty of them had a high degree centrality (≥4) in the PPI network. Four DEGs (FN1, fibronectin 1; UGCG, UDP-glucose ceramide glucosyltransferase; CHPF2, chondroitin polymerizing factor 2; and THBS2, thrombospondin 2) could predict the overall survival, and they were confirmed to be upregulated in MPM samples compared with controls. Also, they could effectively predict the MPM risk, with an overall accuracy of >0.9. DAVID analysis revealed FN1, CHPF2 and THBS2 functioned in cell-ECM interactions; UGCG influenced glycosphingolipid metabolism. All genes were positively associated with infiltrating levels of immune cells (macrophages or dendritic cells) and the expression of the dendritic cell marker (NRP1, neuropilin 1).

Conclusion: These four immune-related genes represent potential biomarkers for monitoring CNT-induced MPM and predicting the prognosis.

RevDate: 2021-09-07

Nowak AK, Jackson A, C Sidhu (2021)

Management of Advanced Pleural Mesothelioma-At the Crossroads.

JCO oncology practice [Epub ahead of print].

The management of pleural mesothelioma has changed with the demonstration that first-line checkpoint blockade therapy improves survival. This review covers issues of relevance to the practicing medical oncologist, with an emphasis on the palliative setting and on new information. Until recently, standard systemic therapy for mesothelioma was combination chemotherapy with platinum and pemetrexed. In 2020, combination immunotherapy with ipilimumab and nivolumab was approved as first-line systemic therapy for mesothelioma following release of the results from the CheckMate 743 trial. This trial showed improved overall survival for patients receiving ipilimumab and nivolumab over those treated with platinum and pemetrexed chemotherapy. When the survival results were examined by histologic subtype, the survival benefit was most significant in those with nonepithelioid mesothelioma, a group for which combination immunotherapy is now standard of care. The most important outstanding issue from CheckMate-743 is a better understanding, through translational studies, of which patients with epithelioid mesothelioma may benefit from combination immunotherapy. The next generation of first-line clinical trials in mesothelioma will report the results of first-line combination chemoimmunotherapy. For those patients who receive first-line dual checkpoint blockade, there is no evidence as to the efficacy of subsequent chemotherapy. However, given the known first-line efficacy of cisplatin or carboplatin and pemetrexed, combination chemotherapy is an appropriate subsequent choice for those who progress on or after dual immunotherapy. For those who previously received chemotherapy without immunotherapy, single-agent nivolumab provides benefit over best supportive care. In summary, both chemotherapy and immunotherapy should be considered for all patients during their disease course. Another topical issue is the growing appreciation that some individuals have an inherited predisposition to mesothelioma; referral to a clinical geneticist should be considered under some circumstances. The role of surgery and multimodality therapy is controversial, with results awaited from the fully recruited MARS-2 clinical trial. Patient selection, staging, and multidisciplinary review are critical to identify those who might benefit from a multimodality approach. Finally, a proactive, multidisciplinary approach to symptom management and the principles of management of pleural effusions are critical to manage the symptom burden of mesothelioma and optimize patient well-being.

RevDate: 2021-09-06

Dick IM, Lee YCG, Cheah HM, et al (2021)

Profile of soluble factors in pleural effusions predict prognosis in mesothelioma.

Cancer biomarkers : section A of Disease markers pii:CBM210280 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Pleural mesothelioma is a deadly asbestos induced cancer. Less than 10% of mesothelioma patients survive 5 years post diagnosis. However survival can range from a few months to a number of years. Accurate prediction of survival is important for patients to plan for their remaining life, and for clinicians to determine appropriate therapy. One unusual features of mesothelioma is that patients frequently present with tumor-associated pleural effusions early in the course of the disease.

OBJECTIVE: To study whether cells and molecules present in pleural effusions provide prognostic information for mesothelioma.

METHODS: We profiled the cellular constituents and concentrations of 40 cytokines, chemokines and cellular factors (collectively "soluble factors") involved in inflammatory and immune signalling pathways in pleural effusion samples from 50 mesothelioma patients.Associations with survival were evaluated by Cox proportional hazards regression methods. Results for the two soluble factors most significantly and independently associated with survival were validated in an independent set of samples (n= 51) using a separate assay system.

RESULTS: Survival analysis revealed thatIL8, IL2Ra (CD25) and PF4 were independent determinants of a more negative prognosis in mesothelioma patients, independent of other known prognostic factors. Lipocalin2 and IL4 were associated with better prognosis.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that pleural effusions rich in a range of soluble factors are associated with poor prognosis. These findings will enhance our ability to prognosticate outcomes in mesothelioma patients.

RevDate: 2021-08-31

Lisini D, Lettieri S, Nava S, et al (2021)

Local Therapies and Modulation of Tumor Surrounding Stroma in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: A Translational Approach.

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(16):.

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare and aggressive neoplasm of the pleural mesothelium, mainly associated with asbestos exposure and still lacking effective therapies. Modern targeted biological strategies that have revolutionized the therapy of other solid tumors have not had success so far in the MPM. Combination immunotherapy might achieve better results over chemotherapy alone, but there is still a need for more effective therapeutic approaches. Based on the peculiar disease features of MPM, several strategies for local therapeutic delivery have been developed over the past years. The common rationale of these approaches is: (i) to reduce the risk of drug inactivation before reaching the target tumor cells; (ii) to increase the concentration of active drugs in the tumor micro-environment and their bioavailability; (iii) to reduce toxic effects on normal, non-transformed cells, because of much lower drug doses than those used for systemic chemotherapy. The complex interactions between drugs and the local immune-inflammatory micro-environment modulate the subsequent clinical response. In this perspective, the main interest is currently addressed to the development of local drug delivery platforms, both cell therapy and engineered nanotools. We here propose a review aimed at deep investigation of the biologic effects of the current local therapies for MPM, including cell therapies, and the mechanisms of interaction with the tumor micro-environment.

RevDate: 2021-09-03
CmpDate: 2021-09-03

Lemen RA, PJ Landrigan (2021)

Sailors and the Risk of Asbestos-Related Cancer.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(16):.

Sailors have long been known to experience high rates of injury, disease, and premature death. Many studies have shown asbestos-related diseases among shipyard workers, but few have examined the epidemiology of asbestos-related disease and death among asbestos-exposed sailors serving on ships at sea. Chrysotile and amphibole asbestos were used extensively in ship construction for insulation, joiner bulkhead systems, pipe coverings, boilers, machinery parts, bulkhead panels, and many other uses, and asbestos-containing ships are still in service. Sailors are at high risk of exposure to shipboard asbestos, because unlike shipyard workers and other occupationally exposed groups, sailors both work and live at their worksite, making asbestos standards and permissible exposure limits (PELs). based on an 8-h workday inadequate to protect their health elevated risks of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers have been observed among sailors through epidemiologic studies. We review these studies here.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Brims F (2021)

Epidemiology and Clinical Aspects of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.

Cancers, 13(16):.

Mesothelioma is a cancer predominantly of the pleural cavity. There is a clear association of exposure to asbestos with a dose dependent risk of mesothelioma. The incidence of mesothelioma in different countries reflect the historical patterns of commercial asbestos utilisation in the last century and predominant occupational exposures mean that mesothelioma is mostly seen in males. Modern imaging techniques and advances in immunohistochemical staining have contributed to an improved diagnosis of mesothelioma. There have also been recent advances in immune checkpoint inhibition, however, mesothelioma remains very challenging to manage, especially considering its limited response to conventional systemic anticancer therapy and that no cure exists. Palliative interventions and support remain paramount with a median survival of 9-12 months after diagnosis. The epidemiology and diagnosis of mesothelioma has been debated over previous decades, due to a number of factors, such as the long latent period following asbestos exposure and disease occurrence, the different potencies of the various forms of asbestos used commercially, the occurrence of mesothelioma in the peritoneal cavity and its heterogeneous pathological and cytological appearances. This review will describe the contemporary knowledge on the epidemiology of mesothelioma and provide an overview of the best clinical practice including diagnostic approaches and management.

RevDate: 2021-08-30

Carbotti G, Dozin B, Martini S, et al (2021)

IL-27 Mediates PD-L1 Expression and Release by Human Mesothelioma Cells.

Cancers, 13(16):.

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a rare tumor with an unfavorable prognosis. MM genesis involves asbestos-mediated local inflammation, supported by several cytokines, including IL-6. Recent data showed that targeting PD-1/PD-L1 is an effective therapy in MM. Here, we investigated the effects of IL-6 trans-signaling and the IL-6-related cytokine IL-27 on human MM cells in vitro by Western blot analysis of STAT1/3 phosphorylation. The effects on PD-L1 expression were tested by qRT-PCR and flow-cytometry and the release of soluble (s)PD-L1 by ELISA. We also measured the concentrations of sPD-L1 and, by multiplexed immunoassay, IL-6 and IL-27 in pleural fluids obtained from 77 patients in relation to survival. IL-27 predominantly mediates STAT1 phosphorylation and increases PD-L1 gene and surface protein expression and sPD-L1 release by human MM cells in vitro. IL-6 has limited activity, whereas a sIL-6R/IL-6 chimeric protein mediates trans-signaling predominantly via STAT3 phosphorylation but has no effect on PD-L1 expression and release. IL-6, IL-27, and sPD-L1 are present in pleural fluids and show a negative correlation with overall survival, but only IL-27 shows a moderate albeit significant correlation with sPD-L1 levels. Altogether these data suggest a potential role of IL-27 in PD-L1-driven immune resistance in MM.

RevDate: 2021-08-26

Mathilakathu A, Borchert S, Wessolly M, et al (2021)

Mitogen signal-associated pathways, energy metabolism regulation, and mediation of tumor immunogenicity play essential roles in the cellular response of malignant pleural mesotheliomas to platinum-based treatment: a retrospective study.

Translational lung cancer research, 10(7):3030-3042.

Background: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare malignant tumor associated with asbestos exposure, with infaust prognosis and overall survival below 20 months in treated patients. Platinum is still the backbone of the chemotherapy protocols, and the reasons for the rather poor efficacy of platinum compounds in MPM remain largely unknown. Therefore, we aimed to analyze differences in key signaling pathways and biological mechanisms in therapy-naïve samples and samples after chemotherapy in order to evaluate the effect of platinum-based chemotherapy.

Methods: The study cohort comprised 24 MPM tumor specimens, 12 from therapy-naïve and 12 from patients after platinum-based therapy. Tumor samples were screened using the NanoString nCounter platform for digital gene expression analysis with an appurtenant custom-designed panel comprising a total of 366 mRNAs covering the most important tumor signaling pathways. Significant pathway associations were identified by gene set enrichment analysis using the WEB-based GEne SeT AnaLysis Toolkit (WebGestalt).

Results: We have found reduced activity of TNF (normalized enrichment score: 2.03), IL-17 (normalized enrichment score: 1.93), MAPK (normalized enrichment score: 1.51), and relaxin signaling pathways (normalized enrichment score: 1.42) in the samples obtained after platinum-based therapy. In contrast, AMPK (normalized enrichment score: -1.58), mTOR (normalized enrichment score: -1.50), Wnt (normalized enrichment score: -1.38), and longevity regulating pathway (normalized enrichment score: -1.31) showed significantly elevated expression in the same samples.

Conclusions: We could identify deregulated signaling pathways due to a directed cellular response to platinum-induced cell stress. Our results are paving the ground for a better understanding of cellular responses and escape mechanisms, carrying a high potential for improved clinical management of patients with MPM.

RevDate: 2021-09-08

Tran T, Egilman D, Rigler M, et al (2021)

A Critique of Helsinki Criteria for Using Lung Fiber Levels to Determine Causation in Mesothelioma Cases.

Annals of global health, 87(1):73.

Asbestos is a known human carcinogen and the chief known cause of mesothelioma. In 1997, a group of experts developed the Helsinki Criteria, which established criteria for attribution of mesothelioma to asbestos. The criteria include two methods for causation attribution: 1) a history of significant occupational, domestic, or environmental exposure and/or 2) pathologic evidence of exposure to asbestos. In 2014, the Helsinki Criteria were updated, and these attribution criteria were not changed. However, since the Helsinki Criteria were first released in 1997, some pathologists, cell biologists, and others have claimed that a history of exposure cannot establish causation unless the lung asbestos fiber burden exceeds "the background range for the laboratory in question to attribute mesothelioma cases to exposure to asbestos." This practice ignores the impact on fiber burden of clearance/translocation over time, which in part is why the Helsinki Criteria concluded that a history of exposure to asbestos was independently sufficient to attribute causation to asbestos. After reviewing the Helsinki Criteria, we conclude that their methodology is fatally flawed because a quantitative assessment of a background lung tissue fiber level cannot be established. The flaws of the Helsinki Criteria are both technical and substantive. The 1995 paper that served as the scientific basis for establishing background levels used inconsistent methods to determine exposures in controls and cases. In addition, historic controls cannot be used to establish background fiber levels for current cases because ambient exposures to asbestos have decreased over time and control cases pre-date current cases by decades. The use of scanning electron microscope (SEM) compounded the non-compatibility problem; the applied SEM cannot distinguish talc from anthophyllite because it cannot perform selected area electron diffraction, which is a crucial identifier in ATEM for distinguishing the difference between serpentine asbestos, amphibole asbestos, and talc.

RevDate: 2021-08-24

Ciocan C, Pira E, Coggiola M, et al (2021)

Mortality in the cohort of talc miners and millers from Val Chisone, Northern Italy: 74 years of follow-up.

Environmental research, 203:111865 pii:S0013-9351(21)01159-2 [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: To update the analysis of mortality of a cohort of talc miners and millers in Northern Italy.

METHODS: We analyzed overall mortality and mortality from specific causes of death during 1946-2020 of 1749 male workers in a talc mine where asbestos was not detected (1184 miners and 565 millers) employed during 1946-1995.

RESULTS: The overall standardized mortality ratio (SMR) was 1.21 (95 % confidence interval [CI] 1.14-1.28); no deaths were observed from pleural cancer. Mortality from lung cancer was not increased (SMR = 1.02 95 % CI 0.82-1.27), while mortality from pneumoconiosis was (SMR 9.55; 95 % CI 7.43-12.08), especially among miners (SMR 12.74; 95 % CI 9.79-16.31). There was a trend in risk of pneumoconiosis with increasing duration of employment in the overall cohort, and the SMR for 25+ years of employment was 15.12 (95 % CI 10.89-20.43).

CONCLUSIONS: This uniquely long-term follow up confirms the results of previous analyses, namely the lack of association between exposure to talc with no detectable level of asbestos and lung cancer and mesothelioma. Increased mortality from pneumoconiosis among miners is related to past exposure to silica.

RevDate: 2021-08-30
CmpDate: 2021-08-30

Grosso S, Marini A, Gyuraszova K, et al (2021)

The pathogenesis of mesothelioma is driven by a dysregulated translatome.

Nature communications, 12(1):4920.

Malignant mesothelioma (MpM) is an aggressive, invariably fatal tumour that is causally linked with asbestos exposure. The disease primarily results from loss of tumour suppressor gene function and there are no 'druggable' driver oncogenes associated with MpM. To identify opportunities for management of this disease we have carried out polysome profiling to define the MpM translatome. We show that in MpM there is a selective increase in the translation of mRNAs encoding proteins required for ribosome assembly and mitochondrial biogenesis. This results in an enhanced rate of mRNA translation, abnormal mitochondrial morphology and oxygen consumption, and a reprogramming of metabolic outputs. These alterations delimit the cellular capacity for protein biosynthesis, accelerate growth and drive disease progression. Importantly, we show that inhibition of mRNA translation, particularly through combined pharmacological targeting of mTORC1 and 2, reverses these changes and inhibits malignant cell growth in vitro and in ex-vivo tumour tissue from patients with end-stage disease. Critically, we show that these pharmacological interventions prolong survival in animal models of asbestos-induced mesothelioma, providing the basis for a targeted, viable therapeutic option for patients with this incurable disease.

RevDate: 2021-08-14

Zhang C, Wu L, de Perrot M, et al (2021)

Carbon Nanotubes: A Summary of Beneficial and Dangerous Aspects of an Increasingly Popular Group of Nanomaterials.

Frontiers in oncology, 11:693814.

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are nanomaterials with broad applications that are produced on a large scale. Animal experiments have shown that exposure to CNTs, especially one type of multi-walled carbon nanotube, MWCNT-7, can lead to malignant transformation. CNTs have characteristics similar to asbestos (size, shape, and biopersistence) and use the same molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways as those involved in asbestos tumorigenesis. Here, a comprehensive review of the characteristics of carbon nanotubes is provided, as well as insights that may assist in the design and production of safer nanomaterials to limit the hazards of currently used CNTs.

RevDate: 2021-08-13

Zhai Z, Ruan J, Zheng Y, et al (2021)

Assessment of Global Trends in the Diagnosis of Mesothelioma From 1990 to 2017.

JAMA network open, 4(8):e2120360.

Importance: It is difficult for policy makers and clinicians to formulate targeted management strategies for mesothelioma because data on current epidemiological patterns worldwide are lacking.

Objective: To evaluate the mesothelioma burden across the world and describe its epidemiological distribution over time and by sociodemographic index (SDI) level, geographic location, sex, and age.

Annual case data and age-standardized rates of incidence, death, and disability-adjusted life-years associated with mesothelioma among different age groups were obtained from the Global Burden of Disease 2017 database. The estimated annual percentage changes in age-standardized rates were calculated to evaluate temporal trends in incidence and mortality. The study population comprised individuals from 21 regions in 195 countries and territories who were diagnosed with mesothelioma between 1990 and 2017. Data were collected from May 23, 2019, to January 18, 2020.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Primary outcomes were incident cases, deaths, and their age-standardized rates and estimated annual percentage changes. Secondary outcomes were disability-adjusted life-years and relative temporal trends.

Results: Overall, 34 615 new cases (95% uncertainty interval [UI], 33 530-35 697 cases) of mesothelioma and 29 909 deaths (95% UI, 29 134-30 613 deaths) associated with mesothelioma were identified in 2017, and more than 70% of these cases and deaths were among male individuals. In 1990, the number of incident cases was 21 224 (95% UI, 17 503-25 450), and the number of deaths associated with mesothelioma was 17 406 (95% UI, 14 495-20 660). These numbers increased worldwide from 1990 to 2017, with more than 50% of cases recorded in regions with high SDI levels, whereas the age-standardized incidence rate (from 0.52 [95% UI, 0.43-0.62] in 1990 to 0.44 [95% UI, 0.42-0.45] in 2017) and the age-standardized death rate (from 0.44 [95% UI, 0.37-0.52] in 1990 to 0.38 [95% UI, 0.37-0.39] in 2017) decreased, with estimated annual percentage changes of -0.61 (95% CI, -0.67 to -0.54) for age-standardized incidence rate and -0.44 (95% CI, -0.52 to -0.37) for age-standardized death rate. The proportion of incident cases among those 70 years or older continued to increase (from 36.49% in 1990 to 44.67% in 2017), but the proportion of patients younger than 50 years decreased (from 16.74% in 1990 to 13.75% in 2017) over time. In addition, mesothelioma incident cases and age-standardized incidence rates began to decrease after 20 years of a complete ban on asbestos use. For example, in Italy, a complete ban on asbestos went into effect in 1992; incident cases increased from 1409 individuals (95% UI, 1013-1733 individuals) in 1990, peaked in 2015 after 23 years of the asbestos ban, then decreased from 1820 individuals (95% UI, 1699-1981 individuals) in 2015 to 1746 individuals (95% UI, 1555-1955 individuals) in 2017.

Conclusions and Relevance: This cross-sectional study found that incident cases of mesothelioma and deaths associated with mesothelioma continuously increased worldwide, especially in resource-limited regions with low SDI levels. Based on these findings, global governments and medical institutions may consider formulating optimal policies and strategies for the targeted prevention and management of mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-08-25
CmpDate: 2021-08-13

Ferrante P (2021)

Hospitalisation costs of malignant mesothelioma: results from the Italian hospital discharge registry (2001-2018).

BMJ open, 11(8):e046456.

OBJECTIVES: This paper aims to establish hospitalisation costs of mesothelioma in Italy and to evaluate hospital-related trends associated with the 1992 asbestos ban.

DESIGN: This is a retrospective population-based study of Italian hospitalisations treating pleura, peritoneum and pericardium mesothelioma in the period 2001-2018.

SETTINGS: Public and private Italian hospitals reached by the Ministry of Health (coverage close to 100%).

PARTICIPANTS: 157 221 admissions with primary or contributing diagnosis of pleural, peritoneal or hearth cancer discharged from 2001 to 2018.Primary and secondary outcome measures: number, length and cost of hospitalisations with related percentages.

RESULTS: Each year, Italian hospitals treated a mesothelioma in 6025 admissions on average. Mean annual costs by site were €20 293 733, €3183 632 and €40 443 for pleura, peritoneum and pericardium, respectively. Pericardial mesothelioma showed the highest cost per admission (€6117), followed by peritoneal (€4549) and pleural cases (€3809). Percentage of hospitalisation costs attributable to mesothelioma was higher when it is located in pleura (53.4%) and pericardium (51.8%) with respect to peritoneum (41.2%). Overall annual hospitalisation cost, percentages of number and length of admissions showed an inverted U-shape, with maxima (of €25 850 276, 0.064% and 0.096%, respectively) reached in 2011-2013. Mean age at discharge and percentages of surgery and of urgent cases increased over time.

CONCLUSIONS: The highest impact of mesothelioma on the National Health System was recorded 20 years after the asbestos ban (2011-2013). Hospitals should expect soon fewer but more severe patients needing more cares. To study the disease prevalence could help assistance planning of next decade.

RevDate: 2021-09-08
CmpDate: 2021-09-08

Chmielewska-Kassassir M, LA Wozniak (2021)

Phytochemicals in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Treatment-Review on the Current Trends of Therapies.

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(15):.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare but highly aggressive tumor of pleura arising in response to asbestos fibers exposure. MPM is frequently diagnosed in the advanced stage of the disease and causes poor prognostic outcomes. From the clinical perspective, MPM is resistant to conventional treatment, thus challenging the therapeutic options. There is still demand for improvement and sensitization of MPM cells to therapy in light of intensive clinical studies on chemotherapeutic drugs, including immuno-modulatory and targeted therapies. One way is looking for natural sources, whole plants, and extracts whose ingredients, especially polyphenols, have potential anticancer properties. This comprehensive review summarizes the current studies on natural compounds and plant extracts in developing new treatment strategies for MPM.

RevDate: 2021-08-09

Li N, Yang C, Zhou S, et al (2021)

Combination of Plasma-Based Metabolomics and Machine Learning Algorithm Provides a Novel Diagnostic Strategy for Malignant Mesothelioma.

Diagnostics (Basel, Switzerland), 11(7):.

BACKGROUND: Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive and incurable carcinoma that is primarily caused by asbestos exposure. However, the current diagnostic tool for MM is still under-developed. Therefore, the aim of this study is to explore the diagnostic significance of a strategy that combined plasma-based metabolomics with machine learning algorithms for MM.

METHODS: Plasma samples collected from 25 MM patients and 32 healthy controls (HCs) were randomly divided into train set and test set, after which analyzation was performed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. Differential metabolites were screened out from the samples of the train set. Subsequently, metabolite-based diagnostic models, including receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves and Random Forest model (RF), were established, and their prediction accuracies were calculated for the test set samples.

RESULTS: Twenty differential plasma metabolites were annotated in the train set; 10 of these metabolites were validated in the test set. The seven most prevalent diagnostic metabolites were taurocholic acid), 0.7142 (uracil), 0.7142 (biliverdin), 0.8571 (histidine), 0.5000 (tauroursodeoxycholic acid), 0.8571 (pyrroline hydroxycarboxylic acid), and 0.7857 (phenylalanine). Furthermore, RF based on 20 annotated metabolites showed a prediction accuracy of 0.9286, and its optimized version achieved 1.0000 in the test set. Moreover, the comparison between the samples of peritoneal MM (n = 8) and pleural MM (n = 17) illustrated a significant increase in levels of taurocholic acid and tauroursodeoxycholic acid, as well as an evident decrease in biliverdin.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results revealed the potential diagnostic value of plasma-based metabolomics combined with machine learning for MM. Further research with large sample size is worthy conducting. Moreover, our data demonstrated dysregulated metabolism pathways in MM, which aids in better understanding of molecular mechanisms related to the initiation and development of MM.

RevDate: 2021-08-11
CmpDate: 2021-08-11

Visonà SD, Capella S, Bodini S, et al (2021)

Evaluation of Deposition and Clearance of Asbestos (Detected by SEM-EDS) in Lungs of Deceased Subjects Environmentally and/or Occupationally Exposed in Broni (Pavia, Northern Italy).

Frontiers in public health, 9:678040.

Biodurability is one of the main determinants of asbestos hazardousness for human health. Very little is known about the actual persistence of asbestos in lungs and its clearance, nor about differences in this regard between the different mineralogical types of asbestos. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the amount, the dimensional characteristics and the mineralogic kinds of asbestos in lungs (measured using SEM-EDS) of a series of 72 deceased subjects who were certainly exposed to asbestos (mainly crocidolite and chrysotile) during their life. Moreover, we investigated possible correlations between the lung burden of asbestos (in general and considering each asbestos type), as well as their dimension (length, width, and l/w ratio) and the duration of exposure, the latency- in case of malignant mesothelioma (MM), the survival and the time since the end of exposure. In 62.5% of subjects, asbestos burden in lungs was lower that the threshold considered demonstrative for occupational exposure. In 29.1% of cases no asbestos was found. Chrysotile was practically not detected. The mean length of asbestos fibers and the length to width ratio were significantly related to the duration of exposure to asbestos. No other statistically significant correlations were found between the amount and dimensional characteristics of asbestos (nor with the relative amount of each asbestos type) and the other chronological variables considered. In conclusion, it was pointed out that chrysotile can be completely removed from human lungs in <8 years and, instead, amphiboles persist much more time. The present results suggest, as well, that the finding of no asbestos in lungs cannot rule out the attribution of MM to asbestos (in particular, chrysotile) inhaled in an occupational setting. This point is of crucial importance from a legal point of view.

RevDate: 2021-08-12

Mensi C, Zellino C, Polonioli M, et al (2021)

Pleural mesothelioma in a circus worker.

Journal of occupational health, 63(1):e12250.

OBJECTIVES: To describe an unusual occupational asbestos exposure in a patient with mesothelioma.

METHODS: Since 2000, the Lombardy Mesothelioma Registry (LMR) collects cases of malignant mesothelioma (MM) occurring among people residing in the Lombardy Region, North-West Italy, with a population of 10 million inhabitants. For each case, clinical records and asbestos exposure are collected. Each case is then classified in agreement with the guidelines of the National Mesothelioma Registry.

RESULTS: We identified a male (86 years old), former smoker, who had been working for 53 years as a circus truck driver and tamer of lions and tigers. The first circumstance of exposure was the use of an asbestos tape that wrapped around the hoop in the feline jumping show with a flaming hoop. The second one was the presence of insulating panels protecting the engine placed inside the trucks.

CONCLUSION: A new MM case with an occupational etiology has been found in the public entertainment, an occupational sector not usually considered at risk for the presence of asbestos.

RevDate: 2021-08-06

Iyoda A, Azuma Y, Sakai T, et al (2021)

Intraoperative argon-plasma coagulation treatment for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Molecular and clinical oncology, 15(3):188.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is often associated with asbestos exposure and carries an extremely poor prognosis. The present study assessed the effectiveness of argon plasma coagulation (APC) treatment in patients with MPM who underwent radical pleural decortication (PD). The clinical data from 11 patients who underwent radical PD treated with APC at Toho University Omori Medical Center from July 2015 to March 2020 were retrospectively analyzed. Clinical features, local recurrence, and clinical prognoses were evaluated. The median overall survival was 18.5 months, and the 1- and 2-year overall survival rates were 71.6 and 43.0%, respectively. One patient survived 5 years but had recurrent tumors. The median disease-free survival was 11.1 months. The 1- and 2-year disease-free survival rates were 49.9 and 12.5%, respectively. Three patients had no recurrences, two of whom were followed continuously (39.6 and 10.2 months). The present study revealed that APC treatment for MPM might be associated with good survival and prognosis. APC as an additional intraoperative treatment for patients with MPM may be further investigated with larger multi-center clinical trials to support its efficacy.

RevDate: 2021-08-06

Gualtieri AF (2021)

Bridging the gap between toxicity and carcinogenicity of mineral fibres by connecting the fibre crystal-chemical and physical parameters to the key characteristics of cancer.

Current research in toxicology, 2:42-52.

Airborne fibres and particularly asbestos represent hazards of great concern for human health because exposure to these peculiar particulates may cause malignancies such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. Currently, many researchers worldwide are focussed on fully understanding the patho-biological mechanisms leading to carcinogenesis prompted by pathogenic fibres. Along this line, the present work introduces a novel approach to correlate how and to what extent the physical/crystal-chemical and morphological parameters (including length, chemistry, biodurability, and surface properties) of mineral fibres cause major adverse effects with an emphasis on asbestos. The model described below conceptually attempts to bridge the gap between toxicity and carcinogenicity of mineral fibres and has several implications: 1) it provides a tool to measure the toxicity and pathogenic potential of asbestos minerals, allowing a quantitative rank of the different types (e.g. chrysotile vs. crocidolite); 2) it can predict the toxicity and pathogenicity of "unregulated" or unclassified fibres; 3) it reveals the parameters of a mineral fibre that are active in stimulating key characteristics of cancer, thus offering a strategy for developing specific cancer prevention strategies and therapies. Chrysotile, crocidolite and fibrous glaucophane are described here as mineral fibres of interest.

RevDate: 2021-08-02

Prusak A, van der Zwan JM, Aarts MJ, et al (2021)

The psychosocial impact of living with mesothelioma: Experiences and needs of patients and their carers regarding supportive care.

European journal of cancer care [Epub ahead of print].

OBJECTIVE: Mesothelioma is a rare cancer with a poor prognosis caused by exposure to asbestos. Psychosocial support and care for mesothelioma patients and their carers is limited and not tailored to their specific needs. The aim of this study was to explore patients' and carers' needs and experiences regarding psychosocial support and their coping mechanisms dealing with psychosocial problems.

METHODS: A qualitative study was performed using semi-structured interviews with both mesothelioma patients and their carers. Participants were recruited through two specialised hospitals and two patient organisations. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed.

RESULTS: Ten patients (70% male, mean age 67.7) and five carers (20% male, mean age 65) participated in the study. The main themes identified for patients were active coping, limited needs and limited knowledge and awareness about psychosocial support. The main themes for carers were passive coping and 'it's all about the patient'.

CONCLUSION: Mesothelioma patients do not seem to have high needs for psychosocial support, whereas carers do. However, knowledge about and awareness of psychosocial support is low among mesothelioma patients. The findings from this study should be used to adjust guidelines for psychosocial support in mesothelioma patients and their carers.

RevDate: 2021-08-19

Onagi H, Hayashi T, Saito T, et al (2021)

Malignant pleural mesothelioma showing rare morphology indistinguishable from myxofibrosarcoma concomitant with EGFR-mutated lung adenocarcinoma: A case report.

International journal of surgery case reports, 85:106237.

INTRODUCTION AND IMPORTANCE: Primary tumors of the pleura are rare, with malignant mesothelioma being the most common of these neoplasms. Pathological diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma can be more challenging than that of epithelioid malignant mesothelioma because of its similarities with true sarcomas and restricted or inconsistent expression of mesothelial markers in immunohistochemistry analysis.

PRESENTATION OF CASE: Here, we present an unusual case of malignant pleural mesothelioma concomitant with lung adenocarcinoma in a 72-year-old Japanese man, a smoker with no family history of cancer and asbestos exposure. Malignant pleural mesothelioma is composed of epithelial and spindle-shaped cells. Spindle-shaped cells with scant eosinophilic cytoplasm and hyperchromatic nuclei proliferated in abundant myxoid stroma containing thin-walled blood vessels, mimicking myxofibrosarcoma. The loss of BAP1 (BRCA1-associated protein 1) expression, as assessed by immunohistochemistry, and homozygous deletions of CDKN2A, detected using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), were observed in both components. Targeted sequencing revealed that lung adenocarcinoma harbored EGFR mutations, whereas no mutations were detected in either component of biphasic mesothelioma.

DISCUSSION: Although alcian blue-stained mucins were detected in biphasic mesothelioma subsets, the clinicopathological significance of myxoid stroma in biphasic and sarcomatoid mesothelioma remains largely unknown.

CONCLUSION: Our case presented a unique morphology mimicking myxofibrosarcoma in a sarcomatoid component of biphasic mesothelioma; therefore, it raises a question on the clinicopathological significance of myxoid stroma in sarcomatous areas of biphasic and sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-07-30

Scopa P (2021)

Reconstruction of asbestos exposure in workers suffering from pleural neoplasms and employed in sectors not generally associated with high exposure levels: the importance of an accurate standardized assessment of occupational medicine.

Journal of preventive medicine and hygiene, 62(1):E148-E151.

Introduction: Malignant pleural mesothelioma onset in workers exposed to asbestos is well known with reference to multiple working sectors. In some cases, occurring among workers of sectors characterized by a presumed lower relevance of asbestos exposure, the absence of a well-defined correlation can prevent their emergence and compensation. To improve definition of these cases, this article underlines the importance of a standardized approach to occupational anamnesis.

Methods: Thorough standardized occupational health assessment method application in a case of pleural malignant neoplasm occurred in a hauler, a job generally not associated with high levels of exposure to asbestos fibres.

Results: Assessment of malignant pleural mesothelioma diagnosis and dual mode relevant occupational exposure to asbestos during both truck driving and loading and unloading operations of asbestos-containing goods.

Conclusions: Systematic occupational medicine assessment with accurate standardized approach is essential for reconstruction of asbestos exposure, in order to highlight every aspect useful to establish causal link between cases of pleural mesothelioma and possible occupational and non-occupational exposure to the mineral, even in cases where the first-level occupational history does not appear to be suggestive.

RevDate: 2021-09-17
CmpDate: 2021-09-17

Brustugun OT, Nilssen Y, IJZ Eide (2021)

Epidemiology and outcome of peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma subtypes in Norway. A 20 year nation-wide study.

Acta oncologica (Stockholm, Sweden), 60(10):1250-1256.

BACKGROUND: Mesothelioma of the pleural or peritoneal cavities is one of the deadliest cancer types. The incidence of pleural subtypes has decreased over time due to decrease in asbestos exposure, and the current treatment landscape is changing due to introduction of novel therapies. In this study we have analysed contemporary epidemiological data of mesothelioma on a national level before the advent of immunotherapy.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Complete national data on 1509 pleural and peritoneal malignant mesothelioma from the Cancer Registry of Norway from 2000 to 2019 are presented. Age standardised incidence and median survival were calculated.

RESULTS: The age-standardised incidence of pleural mesothelioma among males has decreased from 1.7 per 100 000 in 2000-2004 to 1.1 in 2015-2019, whereas the incidence for females has been stable, lower than 0.3 per 100 000 throughout the period. Incidence of peritoneal mesotheliomas remained low, below 0.08 per 100 000. The female to male ratio among pleural mesotheliomas was 1:7 with no differences among morphological subtypes, whereas this ratio was 1:1.2 in peritoneal mesotheliomas. Median age at diagnosis for pleural mesothelioma was 73 years and 76 years for females and males respectively in the last 5-year period, and 67 years for peritoneal mesotheliomas of both sexes. Median survival among pleural mesotheliomas has been stable, with significantly worse prognosis among sarcomatoid subtype (5.4 months) compared to epithelioid subtype (15.8 months). Peritoneal mesothelioma of the epithelioid subtype, representing 38% of cases, had a median survival of 43.3 months, contrasting the non-epithelioid subtype of 5.1 months.

DISCUSSION: Mesothelioma is still a significant disease with a dismal prognosis. Improvement in treatment is warranted.

RevDate: 2021-08-11
CmpDate: 2021-08-11

Fang YJ, Chuang HY, Pan CH, et al (2021)

Increased Risk of Gastric Cancer in Asbestos-Exposed Workers: A Retrospective Cohort Study Based on Taiwan Cancer Registry 1980-2015.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(14):.

Asbestos has been recognized as a human carcinogen associated with malignant mesothelioma, cancers of lung, larynx, and ovary. However, a putative association between gastric cancer and asbestos exposure remains controversial. In this study, we aimed to explore gastric cancer risk of workers potentially exposed to asbestos in Taiwan. The asbestos occupational cohort was established from 1950 to 2015 based on the Taiwan Labor Insurance Database, and Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency regulatory datasets, followed by the Taiwan Cancer Registry for the period 1980-2015. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) for cancer were computed for the whole cohort using reference rates of the general population, and also reference labor population. Compared with the general population, SIR of the asbestos occupational cohort for the gastric cancer increased both in males (1.05, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.09) and females (1.10, 95% CI: 1.01-1.18). A total of 123 worksites were identified to have cases of malignant mesothelioma, where increased risk for gastric cancer was found with a relative risk of 1.76 (95% CI: 1.63-1.90). This 35-year retrospective cohort study of asbestos-exposed workers in Taiwan may provide support for an association between occupational exposure to asbestos and gastric cancer.

RevDate: 2021-07-29
CmpDate: 2021-07-29

Yuan L, Sun B, Xu L, et al (2021)

The Updating of Biological Functions of Methyltransferase SETDB1 and Its Relevance in Lung Cancer and Mesothelioma.

International journal of molecular sciences, 22(14):.

SET domain bifurcated 1 (SETDB1) is a histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methyltransferase that exerts important effects on epigenetic gene regulation. SETDB1 complexes (SETDB1-KRAB-KAP1, SETDB1-DNMT3A, SETDB1-PML, SETDB1-ATF7IP-MBD1) play crucial roles in the processes of histone methylation, transcriptional suppression and chromatin remodelling. Therefore, aberrant trimethylation at H3K9 due to amplification, mutation or deletion of SETDB1 may lead to transcriptional repression of various tumour-suppressing genes and other related genes in cancer cells. Lung cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide in which SETDB1 amplification and H3K9 hypermethylation have been indicated as potential tumourigenesis markers. In contrast, frequent inactivation mutations of SETDB1 have been revealed in mesothelioma, an asbestos-associated, locally aggressive, highly lethal, and notoriously chemotherapy-resistant cancer. Above all, the different statuses of SETDB1 indicate that it may have different biological functions and be a potential diagnostic biomarker and therapeutic target in lung cancer and mesothelioma.

RevDate: 2021-07-29

Pouliquen DL, J Kopecka (2021)

Malignant Mesothelioma.

Cancers, 13(14):.

Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a rare and aggressive cancer, related to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress caused mainly by exposure to asbestos [...].

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RJR Experience and Expertise

Researcher

Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.

Educator

Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.

Administrator

Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.

Technologist

Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.

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While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.

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Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.

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Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.

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Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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