The Genetic Landscape of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: Results from Massively Parallel Sequencing

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Abstract

Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare yet aggressive tumor that is causally associated with—mostly professional—asbestos exposure. Given the long latency between exposure and disease, and because asbestos is still being used, MPM will remain a global health issue for decades to come. Notwithstanding the increasing incidence of MPM and the fact that patients with MPM face a poor prognosis, currently available treatment options are limited. To enable the development of novel targeted therapies, identification of the genetic alterations underlying MPM will be crucial. The first studies reporting on the genomic background of MPM identified recurrent somatic mutations in a number of tumor suppressor genes (i.e., cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A gene [CDKN2A], neurofibromin 2 (merlin)

gene [NF2], and BRCA1 associated protein 1 gene [BAP1]). More recently, massively parallel sequencing strategies have been used and have provided a more genome-wide view on the genetic landscape of MPM. This review summarizes their results, describing alterations that cluster mainly in four pathways: the tumor protein p53/DNA repair, cell cycle, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and phosphoinisitide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathways. As these pathways are important during tumor development, they provide interesting candidates for targeting with novel drugs.

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