Early Detection Research Network

How asbestos and other fibers cause mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma has long been associated with the exposure to asbestos, which was largely used in manufacturing activities. Toxicology studies <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i> demonstrated that asbestos fibers were carcinogenic, and epidemiology studies revealed that asbestos exposure was paralleled by the increase in the incidence of mesothelioma and related mortality rates. More recently, the role of chronic inflammation and the molecular mechanisms involved in carcinogenesis by mineral fibers were elucidated following the discovery of the roles of HMGB1 and inflammasome. A change of paradigm was the discovery of a prevalence of mesotheliomas attributable to inherited mutations of cancer susceptibility genes. The discovery of <i>BAP1</i> as a predisposition gene for the development of familial mesothelioma and other cancers implemented genome studies in patients with mesothelioma and routine clinical surveys in individuals at risk to identify germline mutations associated with cancers included in the BAP1 syndrome. A further progress in the approach to asbestos-related malignancy was the adoption of combined genetics and environmental analyses according to the model of gene-environment (GxE) interactions. This review aims at updating on the most recently discovered mechanisms of tumorigenesis and the pivotal role of GxE interactions.

Gaudino G, Xue J, Yang H


Transl Lung Cancer Res, 2020, 9 (Suppl 1)

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