Research IndicatorsGraph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.
Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic. Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex
Specific Cancers (6)
Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.
Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).
OMIM, Johns Hopkin University
Referenced article focusing on the relationship between phenotype and genotype.
International Cancer Genome Consortium.
Summary of gene and mutations by cancer type from ICGC
Cancer Genome Anatomy Project, NCI
COSMIC, Sanger Institute
Somatic mutation information and related details
GEO Profiles, NCBI
Search the gene expression profiles from curated DataSets in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) repository.
Latest Publications: MSLN (cancer-related)
He Y, Zhao H, Li XM, et al.Use of mesothelin as a tumor-associated antigen in cervical squamous cell carcinoma.
Gene. 2019; 690:30-37 [PubMed
] Related Publications
AIM: To explore the feasibility of using mesothelin (MESO) as a tumor-associated antigen (TAA) in cervical squamous cell carcinoma and its function in the development of cervical cancer.
METHODS: We collected eight cervical tissue samples of squamous cell carcinoma as the test group and eight samples of cervicitis as the control group from patients who underwent a hysterectomy because of a diagnosis of myoma. Then we used western blotting to screen for a potential TAA in cervical squamous cell carcinoma samples. In addition, Lentivirus-mediated RNAi was used to downregulate the expression of the MESO gene (MSLN) in SiHa cells. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), 3‑(4,5)-dimethylthiahiazo (-z‑y1)‑3,5‑di‑phenytetrazoliumromide (MTT), and wound healing were used to examine cell apoptosis, cell proliferation, and cell migration respectively.
RESULTS: Results of the western blotting showed that the MESO protein expressed highly in the cervical squamous cell carcinoma and paracancerous tissues in contrast to the cervicitis tissue (p = 0.242). We used quantitative PCR to verify that the expression of MSLN was 21.6% in the cells undergoing knockdown compared to that in the control cells, and thus, decided to continue with further experiments. We confirmed by FACS that the apoptosis rate in the SiHa cell group undergoing MSLN knockdown (KD group) was significantly higher than that in negative control (NC) group of SiHa cells (p = 0.014). The proliferation of cells was examined by MTT and the difference between the KD and NC groups was found to be statistically significant (p = 0.002). However, since the difference was <20% we did not consider it to be clinically significant. Cell migration ability was verified by wound healing test and found to be 43% in the KD group and 38% in the NC group after 48 h, but the difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: MESO might be used as a TAA for diagnosing cervical squamous cell carcinoma. When MSLN was knocked down in SiHa cells, cell apoptosis increased, but no significant effects were observed on cell proliferation and migration. Thus, our study shows that MSLN plays a role in the apoptosis of cervical squamous cell carcinoma cells, and since this might affect tumor progression, further research is warranted to understand how MSLN plays this role.
Sanyal S, Siriwardena AK, Byers RMeasurement of indicator genes using global complementary DNA (cDNA) amplification, by polyadenylic acid reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (poly A RT-PCR): A feasibility study using paired samples from tissue and ductal juice in patients undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy.
Pancreatology. 2018; 18(4):458-462 [PubMed
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OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study is to compare gene expression profiles in RNA isolated from pancreatic ductal juice with the RNA expression profiles of the same genes from matched intra-operative tissue samples from pancreatic tumours.
METHODS: Intra-operative sampling of pancreatic juice and collection of matched tissue samples was undertaken in patients undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy for clinically suspected pancreatic cancer and a precursor lesion, main-duct intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm. RNA was isolated and Poly A PCR was used to globally amplify the RNA. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to measure expression levels of 17 genes selected from microarray studies. Spearman's rank correlation test was used to examine the relationship of gene expression between pancreatic juice and tissue. The study was approved by Regional Ethics Committee.
RESULTS: Mesothelin (MSLN) showed significant correlation (p < 0.008) in expression levels between paired pancreatic juice and tissue samples in pancreas cancer. In intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN), Matrix Metalloproteinase 7 (MMP7), showed significant correlation (p < 0.01) in the expression levels between paired pancreatic juice and tissue samples.
CONCLUSION: This study confirms that RNA analysis of paired pancreatic juice and tissue samples and establishment of cDNA using poly A PCR is technically feasible. Application of the technique to non-invasively obtained pancreatic juice during endoscopic assessment of tumours and the use of gene arrays of cancer indicator genes are the next steps in development of this technique.
INTRODUCTION: Since the majority of patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage, ovarian cancer remains the most lethal gynecologic malignancy. There is no single biomarker with the sensitivity and specificity required for effective cancer screening; therefore, we investigated a panel of novel biomarkers for the early detection of high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma.
METHODS: Twelve serum biomarkers with high differential gene expression and validated antibodies were selected: IL-1Ra, IL-6, Dkk-1, uPA, E-CAD, ErbB2, SLPI, HE4, CA125, LCN2, MSLN, and OPN. They were tested using Simple Plex™, a multi-analyte immunoassay platform, in samples collected from 172 patients who were either healthy, had benign gynecologic pathologies, or had high-grade serous ovarian adenocarcinomas. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, ROC area under the curve (AUC), and standard error (SE) of the AUC were obtained. Univariate ROC analyses and multivariate ROC analyses with the combination of multiple biomarkers were performed.
RESULTS: The 4-marker panel consisting of CA125, HE4, E-CAD, and IL-6 had the highest ROC AUC. When evaluated for the ability to distinguish early stage ovarian cancer from a non-cancer control, not only did this 4-marker panel (AUC=0.961) performed better than CA 125 alone (AUC=0.851; P=0.0150) and HE4 alone (AUC=0.870; P=0.0220), but also performed significantly better than the 2- marker combination of CA125+HE4 (AUC=0.922; P=0.0278). The 4-marker panel had the highest average sensitivity under the region of its ROC curve corresponding to specificity ranging from 100% down to ~95%.
CONCLUSION: The four-marker panel, CA125, HE4, E-CAD, and IL-6, shows potential in detecting serous ovarian cancer at earlier stages. Additional validation studies using the biomarker combination in ovarian cancer patients are warranted.
BACKGROUND: Cell surface proteins have provided useful targets and biomarkers for advanced cancer therapies. The recent clinical success of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) highlights the importance of finding selective surface antigens for given cancer subtypes. We thus attempted to develop stand-alone software for the analysis of the cell surface transcriptome of patient cancer samples and to prioritize lineage- and/or mutation-specific over-expression markers in cancer cells.
RESULTS: A total of 519 genes were selected as surface proteins, and their expression was profiled in 14 cancer subtypes using patient sample transcriptome data. Lineage/mutation-oriented analysis was used to identify subtype-specific surface markers with statistical confidence. Experimental validation confirmed the unique over-expression of predicted surface markers (MUC4, MSLN, and SLC7A11) in lung cancer cells at the protein level. The differential cell surface gene expression of cell lines may differ from that of tissue samples due to the absence of the tumor microenvironment.
CONCLUSIONS: In the present study, advanced 3D models of lung cell lines successfully reproduced the predicted patterns, demonstrating the physiological relevance of cell line-based 3D models in validating surface markers from patient tumor data. Also QSurface software is freely available at http://compbio.sookmyung.ac.kr/~qsurface .
Immunotherapies, particularly checkpoint inhibitors, have set off a revolution in cancer therapy by releasing the power of the immune system. However, only little is known about the antigens that are essentially presented on cancer cells, capable of exposing them to immune cells. Large-scale HLA ligandome analysis has enabled us to exhaustively characterize the immunopeptidomic landscape of epithelial ovarian cancers (EOCs). Additional comparative profiling with the immunopeptidome of a variety of benign sources has unveiled a multitude of ovarian cancer antigens (MUC16, MSLN, LGALS1, IDO1, KLK10) to be presented by HLA class I and class II molecules exclusively on ovarian cancer cells. Most strikingly, ligands derived from mucin 16 and mesothelin, a molecular axis of prognostic importance in EOC, are prominent in a majority of patients. Differential gene-expression analysis has allowed us to confirm the relevance of these targets for EOC and further provided important insights into the relationship between gene transcript levels and HLA ligand presentation.
Burt BM, Lee HS, Lenge De Rosen V, et al.Soluble Mesothelin-Related Peptides to Monitor Recurrence After Resection of Pleural Mesothelioma.
Ann Thorac Surg. 2017; 104(5):1679-1687 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Most patients undergoing surgical resection of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) will experience recurrence, and radiographic diagnosis of recurrence can be difficult in the postoperative chest. Our objective was to determine the utility of the serum biomarker soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP; or mesothelin) in monitoring of the postoperative MPM patient.
METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated a prospectively maintained single institution clinical database. SMRP levels were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively in patients undergoing surgical resection of MPM.
RESULTS: One hundred two patients underwent pleurectomy/decortication (58%), extrapleural pneumonectomy (20%), chest wall resection (2%), or exploratory thoracotomy (20%) for MPM of 81% epithelial histology. Sixty percent received heated intraoperative chemotherapy and 57% received perioperative systemic chemotherapy. Patients with epithelial histology had substantially greater mean (± SD) preoperative SMRP levels (4.5 ± 7.3 nmol/L) than did patients with biphasic (1.9 ± 2.5 nmol/L) or sarcomatoid (1.2 ± 1.0 nmol/L) histology. Radiologic 3-dimensional tumor volume and tumor mesothelin gene (MSLN) expression correlated with preoperative SMRP. In patients with epithelial histology undergoing complete resection (n = 66), preoperative SMRP (3.4 ± 4.9 nmol/L) dramatically decreased immediately after operation (0.8 ± 0.5 nmol/L), and preoperative SMRP was independently associated with poor disease-free survival. Percentage of change in serial postoperative SMRP values at the best statistical cutoff at 48% revealed high predictive capability of disease recurrence with 90% sensitivity and 93% specificity (area under the curve = 0.96, p < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: SMRP is a promising serum biomarker for the detection of recurrence after resection of epithelial MPM that may have value in clinical practice and should be studied in a prospective cohort.
Inaguma S, Wang Z, Lasota J, et al.Comprehensive immunohistochemical study of mesothelin (MSLN) using different monoclonal antibodies 5B2 and MN-1 in 1562 tumors with evaluation of its prognostic value in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(16):26744-26754 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mesothelin (MSLN) is a glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked cell surface protein highly expressed in several types of malignant tumors sometimes in association with increased tumor aggressiveness and poor clinical outcome. In the present study, 1562 tumors were immunohistochemically analyzed for mesothelin expression using two different types of mouse monoclonal antibodies (5B2 and MN-1) to determine the clinical usefulness of mesothelin immunohistochemistry as well as to pinpoint potential targets for future anti-mesothelin therapy. Also, characterization of selected mesothelin-positive tumors was performed by immunohistochemistry and oncogene sequencing. Among the tumors analyzed, the highest frequencies of mesothelin-positivity were detected in ovarian serous carcinoma (90% in 5B2 and 94% in MN-1). Both antibodies showed frequent positivity in pancreatic adenocarcinoma (71% using 5B2 and 87% using MN-1) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (75% using 5B2 and 78% using MN-1). In malignant mesothelioma, overall survival was significantly longer in the cohort of patients with diffuse membranous expression of mesothelin (P < 0.001). Both antibodies showed positive staining in thymic carcinoma (77% in 5B2 and 59% in MN-1), however, no expression was detected in thymoma. No correlation was detected between mesothelin expression and mismatch repair system deficient phenotype or gene mutation (BRAF and RAS) status in gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas. Mesothelin immunohistochemistry may assist the differential diagnosis of thymoma vs. thymic carcinoma as well as prognostication of mesothelioma patients. Our results demonstrate that patients with solid tumors expressing mesothelin could be targeted by anti-mesothelin therapies.
De Santi C, Pucci P, Bonotti A, et al.Mesothelin promoter variants are associated with increased soluble mesothelin-related peptide levels in asbestos-exposed individuals.
Occup Environ Med. 2017; 74(6):456-463 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP) is a promising diagnostic biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), but various confounders hinder its usefulness in surveillance programmes. We previously showed that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) within the 3'untranslated region (3'UTR) of the
OBJECTIVES: To focus on SNPs located within
METHODS: The association between SMRP and SNPs was tested in 689 non-MPM subjects and 70 patients with MPM. Reporter plasmids carrying the four most common haplotypes were compared in a dual luciferase assay, and in silico analyses were performed to investigate the putative biological role of the SNPs.
RESULTS: We found a strong association between serum SMRP and variant alleles of rs3764247, rs3764246 (in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs2235504) and rs2235503 in non-MPM subjects. Inclusion of the genotype information led to an increase in SMRP specificity from 79.9% to 85.5%. Although not statistically significant, the group with MPM showed the same trend of association. According to the in vitro luciferase study, rs3764247 itself had a functional role. In silico approaches showed that the binding sites for transcription factors such as Staf and ZNF143 could be affected by this SNP. The other SNPs were shown to interact with each other in a more complex way.
CONCLUSIONS: These data support the suggestion that SMRP performance is affected by individual (ie, genetic) variables and that
Battolla E, Canessa PA, Ferro P, et al.Comparison of the Diagnostic Performance of Fibulin-3 and Mesothelin in Patients with Pleural Effusions from Malignant Mesothelioma.
Anticancer Res. 2017; 37(3):1387-1391 [PubMed
] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: In the literature, there exist conflicting data on the value of fibulin-3 (FBLN3) for the diagnosis of pleural effusion (PE) in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Therefore we compared the diagnostic performance of FBLN3 against that of soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP) in a cohort of Italian patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: FBLN3 and SMRP were detected in PE from 33 patients with MPM, 64 with pleural benign lesions and 23 with non-MPM pleural metastases using a commercial enzyme-linked-immunosorbent(ELISA)-assay kit according to manufacturers' instructions.
RESULTS: Levels of FBLN3 were similar in PE from MPM and PE from other pathologies (geometric mean=68.1 vs. 66.2 ng/ml; p=0.872) in contrast to SMRP levels, which were significantly higher in PE from MPM (geometric mean=14.6 vs. 3.2 nM; p<0.001). Receiver operating characteristic analysis confirmed that SMRP showed a good performance (area under the curve=0.79, p<0.001), whereas FBLN3 was not able to discriminate MPM from other pathologies (area under the curve=0.44, p=0.838).
CONCLUSION: FBLN3 detection in PE, in contrast to SMRP detection, is not useful as a biomarker for the diagnosis of PE from MPM.
BACKGROUND: Lung cancer and pleural mesothelioma are two of the most deadly forms of cancer. The prognosis of lung cancer and mesothelioma is extremely poor due to limited treatment modalities and lack of understanding of the disease mechanisms. We have identified mesothelin as a potentially unique therapeutic target that as a specific advantage appears nonessential in most cell types. Mesothelin (MSLN), a plasma membrane differentiation antigen, is expressed at a high level in many human solid tumors, including 70% of lung cancer and nearly all mesotheliomas. However, the role of MSLN in the disease process and underlying mechanisms is largely unknown.
METHODS: ShRNA knockdown and overexpression of MSLN were performed in human cancer cell lines and corresponding normal cells, respectively. Tumorigenic and metastatic effects of MSLN were examined by tumor sphere formation, migration, and invasion assays in vitro, as well as xenograft tumor assay in vivo. EMT and CSCs were detected by qPCR array, immunoblotting and flow cytometry.
RESULTS: MSLN plays a key role in controlling epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stem properties of human lung cancer and mesothelioma cells that control their tumorigenicity and metastatic potential. Firstly, MSLN was found to be highly upregulated in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient tissues and in lung carcinoma and mesothelioma cell lines. Secondly, genetic knockdown of MSLN significantly reduced anchorage-independent cell growth, tumor sphere formation, cell adhesion, migration and invasion in vitro, as well as tumor formation and metastasis in vivo. Thirdly, ectopic overexpression of MSLN induced the malignant phenotype of non-cancerous cells, supporting its role as an oncogene. Finally, mechanistic studies revealed that knockdown of MSLN reversed EMT and attenuated stem cell properties, in addition to inhibiting tumor growth and metastasis.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate an essential role of MSLN in controlling EMT and stem cell properties of human lung cancer and mesothelioma cells. Since EMT is an important process in tumor progression and metastasis, and MSLN is nonessential in most normal tissue, our findings on MSLN may provide new insights into the disease mechanisms and may aid in the development of novel targeted therapy for lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been likened to asbestos in terms of morphology and toxicity. CNT exposure can lead to pulmonary fibrosis and promotion of tumorigenesis. However, the mechanisms underlying CNT-induced carcinogenesis are not well defined. Mesothelin (MSLN) is overexpressed in many human tumors, including mesotheliomas and pancreatic and ovarian carcinomas. In this study, the role of MSLN in the carcinogenic transformation of human bronchial epithelial cells chronically exposed to single-walled CNT (BSW) was investigated. MSLN overexpression was found in human lung tumors, lung cancer cell lines, and BSW cells. The functional role of MSLN in the BSW cells was then investigated by using stably transfected MSLN knockdown (BSW shMSLN) cells. MSLN knockdown resulted in significantly decreased invasion, migration, colonies on soft agar, and tumor sphere formation. In vivo, BSW shMSLN cells formed smaller primary tumors and less metastases. The mechanism by which MSLN contributes to these more aggressive behaviors was investigated by using ingenuity pathway analysis, which predicted that increased MSLN could induce cyclin E expression. We found that BSW shMSLN cells had decreased cyclin E, and their proliferation rate was reverted to nearly that of untransformed cells. Cell cycle analysis showed that the BSW shMSLN cells had an increased G2 population and a decreased S phase population, which is consistent with the decreased rate of proliferation. Together, our results indicate a novel role of MSLN in the malignant transformation of bronchial epithelial cells following CNT exposure, suggesting its utility as a potential biomarker and drug target for CNT-induced malignancies.
Lamberts LE, de Groot DJ, Bense RD, et al.Functional genomic mRNA profiling of a large cancer data base demonstrates mesothelin overexpression in a broad range of tumor types.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(29):28164-72 [PubMed
] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The membrane bound glycoprotein mesothelin (MSLN) is a highly specific tumor marker, which is currently exploited as target for drugs. There are only limited data available on MSLN expression by human tumors. Therefore we determined overexpression of MSLN across different tumor types with Functional Genomic mRNA (FGM) profiling of a large cancer database. Results were compared with data in articles reporting immunohistochemical (IHC) MSLN tumor expression. FGM profiling is a technique that allows prediction of biologically relevant overexpression of proteins from a robust data set of mRNA microarrays. This technique was used in a database comprising 19,746 tumors to identify for 41 tumor types the percentage of samples with an overexpression of MSLN compared to a normal background. A literature search was performed to compare the FGM profiling data with studies reporting IHC MSLN tumor expression. FGM profiling showed MSLN overexpression in gastrointestinal (12-36%) and gynecological tumors (20-66%), non-small cell lung cancer (21%) and synovial sarcomas (30%). The overexpression found in thyroid cancers (5%) and renal cell cancers (10%) was not yet reported with IHC analyses. We observed that MSLN amplification rate within esophageal cancer depends on the histotype (31% for adenocarcinomas versus 3% for squamous-cell carcinomas). Subset analysis in breast cancer showed MSLN amplification rates of 28% in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) and 33% in basal-like breast cancer. Further subtype analysis of TNBCs showed the highest amplification rate (42%) in the basal-like 1 subtype and the lowest amplification rate (9%) in the luminal androgen receptor subtype.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most lethal human cancers. The search for targeted treatments has been hampered by the lack of relevant animal models for the genetically diverse subsets of HCC, including the 20-40% of HCCs that are defined by activating mutations in the gene encoding β-catenin. To address this chemotherapeutic challenge, we created and characterized transgenic zebrafish expressing hepatocyte-specific activated β-catenin. By 2 months post fertilization (mpf), 33% of transgenic zebrafish developed HCC in their livers, and 78% and 80% of transgenic zebrafish showed HCC at 6 and 12 mpf, respectively. As expected for a malignant process, transgenic zebrafish showed significantly decreased mean adult survival compared to non-transgenic control siblings. Using this novel transgenic model, we screened for druggable pathways that mediate β-catenin-induced liver growth and identified two c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitors and two antidepressants (one tricyclic antidepressant, amitriptyline, and one selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) that suppressed this phenotype. We further found that activated β-catenin was associated with JNK pathway hyperactivation in zebrafish and in human HCC. In zebrafish larvae, JNK inhibition decreased liver size specifically in the presence of activated β-catenin. The β-catenin-specific growth-inhibitory effect of targeting JNK was conserved in human liver cancer cells. Our other class of hits, antidepressants, has been used in patient treatment for decades, raising the exciting possibility that these drugs could potentially be repurposed for cancer treatment. In support of this proposal, we found that amitriptyline decreased tumor burden in a mouse HCC model. Our studies implicate JNK inhibitors and antidepressants as potential therapeutics for β-catenin-induced liver tumors.
Melaiu O, Melissari E, Mutti L, et al.Expression status of candidate genes in mesothelioma tissues and cell lines.
Mutat Res. 2015; 771:6-12 [PubMed
] Related Publications
In order to broaden knowledge on the pathogenesis of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), we reviewed studies on the MPM-transcriptome and identified 119 deregulated genes. However, there was poor consistency among the studies. Thus, the expression of these genes was further investigated in the present work using reverse transcriptase-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) in 15 MPM and 20 non-MPM tissue samples. Fifty-nine genes showed a statistically significant deregulation and were further evaluated in two epithelioid MPM cell lines (compared to MET-5A, a non-MPM cell line). Nine genes (ACSL1, CCNO, CFB, PDGFRB, SULF1, TACC1, THBS2, TIMP3, XPOT) were deregulated with statistical significance in both cell lines, 12 (ASS1, CCNB1, CDH11, COL1A1, CXADR, EIF4G1, GALNT7, ITGA4, KRT5, PTGIS, RAN, SOD1) in at least one cell line, whereas 7 (DSP, HEG1, MCM4, MSLN, NME2, NMU, TNPO2) were close but did not reach the statistical significance in any of the cell line. Patients whose MPM tissues expressed elevated mRNA levels of BIRC5, DSP, NME2, and THBS2 showed a statistically significant shorter overall survival. Although MPM is a poorly studied cancer, some features are starting to emerge. Novel cancer genes are suggested here, in particular those involved in cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions.
Steinbach D, Bader P, Willasch A, et al.Prospective validation of a new method of monitoring minimal residual disease in childhood acute myelogenous leukemia.
Clin Cancer Res. 2015; 21(6):1353-9 [PubMed
] Related Publications
PURPOSE: This study evaluated the prognostic impact of a novel, simple, and standardized assay for monitoring minimal residual disease (MRD) in pediatric acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The expression of seven leukemia-associated genes (WT1, PRAME, CCL23, GAGED2, MSLN, SPAG6, and ST18) was measured by TaqMan Low Density Arrays in 112 patients and 52 healthy controls. Patients were treated according to the multicenter study AML-BFM 2004. Samples were collected prospectively at standard time points. The laboratory that measured MRD was blinded to patient outcome.
RESULTS: Relapse-free survival (RFS) was 95% (N = 19; SE = 5%) if expression of all genes was down to normal on day 15, 63% (N = 41; SE = 8%) if expression was normalized on day 28, and 38% (N = 21; SE = 11%) in patients who still showed elevated expression on day 28. The prognostic impact of MRD remained significant (P = 0.002) when patients were stratified for the AML-BFM 2004 risk group. Multivariate analysis identified the MRD risk group and day 28 cytology as the only independent prognostic factors. Patients with a cytologic nonremission on day 28, which was confirmed by MRD, had a dismal prognosis. Only 1 out of 8 patients survived without relapse.
CONCLUSIONS: This novel method of monitoring MRD has a strong prognostic impact that is independent from established risk factors in childhood AML.
Garritano S, De Santi C, Silvestri R, et al.A common polymorphism within MSLN affects miR-611 binding site and soluble mesothelin levels in healthy people.
J Thorac Oncol. 2014; 9(11):1662-8 [PubMed
] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Soluble mesothelin related peptide (SMRP) was proposed as a promising diagnostic marker for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). In a previous study, we found that rs1057147 within the 3' untranslated region of MSLN gene was associated with SMRP levels. Thus, we aimed to (1) confirm the previous association on a large series of volunteers and (2) test the hypothesis that the SNP could affect microRNA binding sites.
METHODS: The association analysis was verified in 759 subjects. Then, in silico predictions highlighted miR-611 and miR-887 as candidate miRNAs binding to the polymorphic site. Thus, chimeric constructs bearing the alternative alleles (G > A) were assayed alone or in cotransfection with the miRNA mimics, with dual luciferase reporter assay in non-MPM Met-5A cells. The miRNAs were also assayed by western blot analysis for their ability to down-regulate endogenous mesothelin in the MPM Mero-14 cell line.
RESULTS: We confirmed that, among non-MPM volunteers, GG homozygotes have the lowest SMRP levels. When the genotype is taken into account, the specificity of SMRP as biomarker improves from 79.7% to 85.3%. Dual-luciferase assays showed a significantly lower reporter activity when the vector harbored the G allele as compared to A allele. miR-887 mimic caused a reduced reporter activity of vectors harboring A or G alleles, while miR-611 was effective only on the vector harboring the G allele. Transfection of these miRNAs into Mero-14 cells significantly reduced endogenous MSLN protein.
CONCLUSION: SMRP performance as diagnostic biomarker improved by considering the genotype rs1057147. This polymorphism most likely affects a binding site for miR-611.
Tholey RM, Lal S, Jimbo M, et al.MUC1 Promoter-Driven DTA as a Targeted Therapeutic Strategy against Pancreatic Cancer.
Mol Cancer Res. 2015; 13(3):439-48 [PubMed
] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Mucin1 (MUC1) is overexpressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) and is associated with tumor aggressiveness, suggesting that MUC1 is a promising therapeutic target for promoter-driven diphtheria toxin A (DTA). Endogenous MUC1 transcript levels were analyzed by quantitative PCR (qPCR) in multiple PDA cells (Capan1, HPAFII, Su.86.86, Capan2, Hs766T, MiaPaCa2, and Panc1). Expression levels were correlated with luciferase activity and cell death after transfection with MUC1 promoter-driven luciferase and DTA constructs. MUC1-positive (+) cells had significantly elevated MUC1 mRNA expression compared with MUC1-negative (-) cells. Luciferase activity was significantly higher in MUC1(+) cells when transfected with MUC1 promoter-driven luciferase and MUC1(+) cells underwent enhanced cell death after transfection with a single dose of MUC1 promoter-driven DTA. IFNγ pretreatment enhanced MUC1 expression in MUC1(-) cells and induced sensitivity to MUC1-DTA therapy. Matched primary and metastatic tumor lesions from clinical specimens revealed similar MUC1 IHC labeling patterns, and a tissue microarray of human PDA biopsies revealed increased immunolabeling with a combination of MUC1 and mesothelin (MSLN) antibodies, compared with either antibody alone. Combining MUC1 with MSLN-targeted DTA enhanced drug efficacy in an in vitro model of heterogeneous PDA. These data demonstrate that MUC1 promoter-driven DTA preferentially kills MUC1-expressing PDA cells and drugs that enhance MUC1 expression sensitize PDA cells with low MUC1 expression.
IMPLICATIONS: MUC1 expression in primary and metastatic lesions provides a rationale for the development of a systemic MUC1 promoter-driven DTA therapy that may be further enhanced by combination with other promoter-driven DTA constructs.
Scales SJ, Gupta N, Pacheco G, et al.An antimesothelin-monomethyl auristatin e conjugate with potent antitumor activity in ovarian, pancreatic, and mesothelioma models.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(11):2630-40 [PubMed
] Related Publications
Mesothelin (MSLN) is an attractive target for antibody-drug conjugate therapy because it is highly expressed in various epithelial cancers, with normal expression limited to nondividing mesothelia. We generated novel antimesothelin antibodies and conjugated an internalizing one (7D9) to the microtubule-disrupting drugs monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE) and MMAF, finding the most effective to be MMAE with a lysosomal protease-cleavable valine-citrulline linker. The humanized (h7D9.v3) version, αMSLN-MMAE, specifically targeted mesothelin-expressing cells and inhibited their proliferation with an IC50 of 0.3 nmol/L. Because the antitumor activity of an antimesothelin immunotoxin (SS1P) in transfected mesothelin models did not translate to the clinic, we carefully selected in vivo efficacy models endogenously expressing clinically relevant levels of mesothelin, after scoring mesothelin levels in ovarian, pancreatic, and mesothelioma tumors by immunohistochemistry. We found that endogenous mesothelin in cancer cells is upregulated in vivo and identified two suitable xenograft models for each of these three indications. A single dose of αMSLN-MMAE profoundly inhibited or regressed tumor growth in a dose-dependent manner in all six models, including two patient-derived tumor xenografts. The robust and durable efficacy of αMSLN-MMAE in preclinical models of ovarian, mesothelioma, and pancreatic cancers justifies the ongoing phase I clinical trial.
The mesothelin (MSLN) gene encodes a 71 kilodalton (kDa) precursor protein that is processed into megakaryocytic potentiating factor (MPF), a 31 kDa protein that is secreted from the cell, and mature mesothelin (mMSLN), a 40 kDa cell surface protein. The mMSLN binds to CA125, an interaction that has been implicated in the intra-cavitary spread of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. To better define the role of MPF and mMSLN, growth of the lung cancer cell line A549 was evaluated in immuno-deficient mice with inactivation of the Msln gene. We observed that Msln-/- mice xenografted with intraperitoneal A549 tumors survive significantly long than tumor-bearing Msln+/+ mice. When tumor-bearing Msln-/- mice are supplemented with recombinant MPF (and to a lesser extent mMSLN), most of this survival advantage is lost. These studies demonstrate that MPF and mMSLN have an important role in the growth of lung cancer cells in vivo and raise the possibility that inactivation of MPF may be a useful treatment for lung and other MSLN expressing cancers.
Genes involved in the carcinogenetic mechanisms underlying malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) are still poorly characterized. So far, mesothelin (MSLN) has aroused the most interest. It encodes for a membrane glycoprotein, frequently over-expressed in various malignancies such as MPM, and ovarian and pancreatic cancers. It has been proposed as a diagnostic and immunotherapeutic target with promising results. However, an alternative therapeutic approach seems to rise, whereby synthetic molecules, such as antisense oligonucleotides, could be used to inhibit MSLN activity. To date, such a gene-level inhibition has been attempted in two studies only, both on pancreatic and ovarian carcinoma cell lines, with the use of silencing RNA approaches. With regard to MPM, only one cell line (H2373) has been employed to study the effects of MSLN depletion. Indeed, the knowledge on the role of MSLN in MPM needs expanding. Accordingly, we investigated the expression of MSLN in a panel of three MPM cell lines, i.e., NCI-H28, Mero-14, and IstMes2; one non-MPM cell line was used as reference (Met5A). MSLN knock-down experiments on MSLN-overexpressing cells were also performed through silencing RNA (siRNA) to verify whether previous findings could be generalized to a different set of cell cultures. In agreement with previous studies, transient MSLN-silencing caused decreased proliferation rate and reduced invasive capacity and sphere formation in MSLN-overexpressing Mero-14 cells. Moreover, MSLN-siRNA combined with cisplatin, triggered a marked increase in apoptosis and a decrease in proliferation as compared to cells treated with each agent alone, thereby suggesting a sensitizing effect of siRNA towards cisplatin. In summary, our findings confirm that MSLN should be considered a key molecular target for novel gene-based targeted therapies of cancer.
Kachala SS, Bograd AJ, Villena-Vargas J, et al.Mesothelin overexpression is a marker of tumor aggressiveness and is associated with reduced recurrence-free and overall survival in early-stage lung adenocarcinoma.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(4):1020-8 [PubMed
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PURPOSE: In an effort to identify molecular markers of tumor aggressiveness and therapeutic targets in lung adenocarcinoma (ADC), we investigated the expression of mesothelin (MSLN) in lung ADC, as well as its biologic and clinical relevance.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: In a training and validation set of patients with early-stage (I-III) lung ADC (n = 1,209), a tissue microarray consisting of tumors and normal lung tissue was used to examine the association between MSLN expression and recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS). The influence of MSLN overexpression on lung ADC was investigated in vitro and in vivo by use of clinically relevant orthotopic and metastatic xenogeneic and syngeneic mouse models.
RESULTS: MSLN was expressed in 69% of lung ADC tumors, with one in five patients strongly expressing MSLN and no expression in normal lung tissue. Increased MSLN expression was associated with reduced OS [HR = 1.78; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.26-2.50; P < 0.01] and RFS (HR = 1.67; 95% CI, 1.21-2.27; P < 0.01) in multivariate analyses, even after adjustment for currently known markers of tumor aggressiveness in lung ADC: male sex, smoking history, increasing stage, morphologic pattern, visceral pleural invasion, lymphatic or vascular invasion, and mutation status. In vitro, lung ADC cells overexpressing MSLN demonstrated increased cell proliferation, migration, and invasion; in vivo, mice with MSLN(+) tumors demonstrated decreased survival (P = 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: MSLN expression in patients with early-stage lung ADC is associated with increased risk of recurrence and reduced OS, indicating that MSLN expression is a molecular marker of tumor aggressiveness and a potential target for therapy.
Creaney J, Sneddon S, Dick IM, et al.Comparison of the diagnostic accuracy of the MSLN gene products, mesothelin and megakaryocyte potentiating factor, as biomarkers for mesothelioma in pleural effusions and serum.
Dis Markers. 2013; 35(2):119-27 [PubMed
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The MSLN gene products, soluble mesothelin and megakaryocyte potentiating factor (MPF), are being investigated as biomarkers for the asbestos-related cancer malignant mesothelioma (MM). Pleural fluid biomarkers of MM can be elevated when serum levels remain normal. The aim of this study was to determine if this was true for MPF and to compare levels of mesothelin. Biomarker concentrations were compared in 66 MM patients, 39 patients with other malignancies, 37 with benign disease, 18 asbestos-exposed healthy individuals, and 53 patients with chronic kidney disease. In pleural effusions, MPF and soluble mesothelin concentrations were both significantly elevated in MM patients relative to controls. No significant difference between the area under the receiver operator curve (AUC) for MPF (0.945 ± 0.02) and mesothelin (0.928 ± 0.03) when distinguishing MM from all other causes of effusion was observed. MPF and mesothelin serum concentrations were highly correlated and of equivalent diagnostic accuracy with AUCs of 0.813 ± 0.04 and 0.829 ± 0.03, respectively. Serum levels of both markers increased with decreasing kidney function. In conclusion, MPF is elevated in the pleural effusions of MM patients similar to that of mesothelin. Mesothelin and MPF convey equivalent diagnostic information for distinguishing MM from other diseases in pleural effusions as well as serum.
ERC/mesothelin is expressed in mesothelioma and other malignancies. The ERC/mesothelin gene (MSLN) encodes a 71-kDa precursor protein, which is cleaved to yield 31-kDa N-terminal (N-ERC/mesothelin) and 40-kDa C-terminal (C-ERC/mesothelin) proteins. N-ERC/mesothelin is a soluble protein and has been reported to be a diagnostic serum marker of mesothelioma and ovarian cancer. Gastric cancer tissue also expresses C-ERC/mesothelin, but the significance of serum N-ERC levels for diagnosing gastric cancer has not yet been studied. We examined the latter issue in the present study as well as C-ERC/mesothelin expression in human gastric cancer tissues and cell lines. We immunohistochemically examined C-ERC/mesothelin expression in tissue samples from 50 cases of gastric cancer, and we also assessed the C-ERC/mesothelin expression in 6 gastric cancer cell lines (MKN-1, MKN-7, MKN-74, NUGC-3, NUGC-4 and TMK-1) using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. We also examined the N-ERC/mesothelin concentrations in the supernatants of cultured cells and in the sera of gastric cancer patients using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). N-ERC/mesothelin was detected in the supernatants of 3 gastric cancer cell lines (MKN-1, NUGC-4 and TMK-1) by ELISA, but its concentration in the sera of gastric cancer patients was almost same as that observed in the sera of the normal controls. In the gastric cancer tissues, C-ERC/mesothelin expression was associated with lymphatic invasion. N-ERC/mesothelin was secreted into the supernatants of gastric cancer cell lines, but does not appear to be a useful serum marker of gastric cancer.
PURPOSE: The majority of pancreatic cancers overexpress mesothelin (MSLN), which contributes to enhanced proliferation, invasion, and migration. However, the MSLN regulatory network is still unclear. Here, we investigated the regulation of a panel of tumorigenic factors and explored the potential of MSLN-regulated miR-198 treatment in vivo.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The expression and functional regulation of the tumorigenic factors MSLN, NF-κB, and the homeobox transcription factors (TF) POU2F2 (OCT-2), Pre-B-cell leukemia homeobox factor 1 (PBX-1), valosin-containing protein (VCP), and miR-198 were studied in pancreatic cancer cell lines, patient tumor samples, and xenograft pancreatic cancer mouse models.
RESULTS: We found that miR-198 is downregulated in pancreatic cancer and is involved in an intricate reciprocal regulatory loop with MSLN, which represses miR-198 through NF-κB-mediated OCT-2 induction. Furthermore, miR-198 repression leads to overexpression of PBX-1 and VCP. The dysregulated PBX-1/VCP axis leads to increased tumorigenicity. Reconstitution of miR-198 in pancreatic cancer cells results in reduced tumor growth, metastasis, and increased survival through direct targeting MSLN, PBX-1, and VCP. Most interestingly, reduced levels of miR-198 in human tissue samples are associated with upregulation of these tumorigenic factors (MSLN, OCT-2, PBX-1, VCP) and predict poor survival. Reduced miR-198 expression links this tumor network signature and prognosticates poor patient outcome. High miR-198 disrupts the network and predicts better prognosis and increased survival.
CONCLUSIONS: miR-198 acts as a central tumor suppressor and modulates the molecular makeup of a critical interactome in pancreatic cancer, indicating a potential prognostic marker signature and the therapeutic potential of attacking this tumorigenic network through a central vantage point.
Folate receptor alpha (FOLR1/FRA) is reported to be overexpressed in epithelial ovarian cancers (EOC), especially the serous histotype. Further, while dysregulation of the folate-dependent 1-carbon cycle has been implicated in tumorogenesis, little is known relative to the potential mechanism of action of FOLR1 expression in these processes. We therefore investigated the expression of FOLR1, other folate receptors, and genes within the 1-carbon cycle in samples of EOC, normal ovary and fallopian tube on a custom TaqMan Low Density Array. Also included on this array were known markers of EOC such as MSLN, MUC16 and HE4. While few differences were observed in the expression profiles of genes in the 1-carbon cycle, genes previously considered to be overexpressed in EOC (e.g., FOLR1, MSLN, MUC16 and HE4) showed significantly increased expression when comparing EOC to normal ovary. However, when the comparator was changed to normal fallopian tube, these differences were abolished, supporting the hypothesis that EOC derives from fallopian fimbriae and, further, that markers previously considered to be upregulated or overexpressed in EOC are most likely not of ovarian origin, but fallopian in derivation. Our findings therefore support the hypothesis that the cell of origin of EOC is tubal epithelium.
Wang Y, Wang L, Li D, et al.Mesothelin promotes invasion and metastasis in breast cancer cells.
J Int Med Res. 2012; 40(6):2109-16 [PubMed
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OBJECTIVE: The presence of mesothelin (encoded by the mesothelin [MSLN] gene) in breast cancer is associated with tumour infiltration of the lymph node. This study evaluated whether MSLN overexpression promotes breast cancer cell invasiveness and metastasis.
METHODS: This study evaluated the effects of overexpression of MSLN on extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 levels, and the invasiveness and angiogenesis of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 in vitro, and on MCF-7-derived tumour development in vivo.
RESULTS: MSLN overexpression significantly increased ERK1/2 and MMP9 protein levels and activity, and the invasive and angiogenic capability of MCF-7 cells, in vitro. Inhibition of ERK1/2 suppressed MMP-9 and the invasive and angiogenic capability of MSLN overexpressing MCF-7 cells. MSLN overexpression also increased MCF-7-derived tumour metastasis in vivo.
CONCLUSION: MSLN overexpression promoted the invasive potential of MCF-7 cells through ERK1/2-dependent upregulation of MMP-9; this association may have contributed to metastasis of MCF-7 cells in vivo. Mesothelin may be a useful biomarker for cancer progression and a novel therapeutic or chemopreventive target in human breast cancer.
Ren YR, Chaerkady R, Hu S, et al.Unbiased discovery of interactions at a control locus driving expression of the cancer-specific therapeutic and diagnostic target, mesothelin.
J Proteome Res. 2012; 11(11):5301-10 [PubMed
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Although significant effort is expended on identifying transcripts/proteins that are up-regulated in cancer, there are few reports on systematic elucidation of transcriptional mechanisms underlying such druggable cancer-specific targets. The mesothelin (MSLN) gene offers a promising subject, being expressed in a restricted pattern normally, yet highly overexpressed in almost one-third of human malignancies and a target of cancer immunotherapeutic trials. CanScript, a cis promoter element, appears to control MSLN cancer-specific expression; its related genomic sequences may up-regulate other cancer markers. CanScript is a 20-nt bipartite element consisting of an SP1-like motif and a consensus MCAT sequence. The latter recruits TEAD (TEA domain) family members, which are universally expressed. Exploration of the active CanScript element, especially the proteins binding to the SP1-like motif, thus could reveal cancer-specific features having diagnostic or therapeutic interest. The efficient identification of sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins at a given locus, however, has lagged in biomarker explorations. We used two orthogonal proteomics approaches--unbiased SILAC (stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture)/DNA affinity-capture/mass spectrometry survey (SD-MS) and a large transcription factor protein microarray (TFM)--and functional validation to explore systematically the CanScript interactome. SD-MS produced nine candidates, and TFM, 18. The screens agreed in confirming binding by TEAD proteins and by newly identified NAB1 and NFATc. Among other identified candidates, we found functional roles for ZNF24, NAB1 and RFX1 in MSLN expression by cancer cells. Combined interactome screens yield an efficient, reproducible, sensitive, and unbiased approach to identify sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins and other participants in disease-specific DNA elements.
Wang L, Niu Z, Zhang L, et al.Clinicopathological significance of mesothelin expression in invasive breast cancer.
J Int Med Res. 2012; 40(3):909-16 [PubMed
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OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the expression profile of the mesothelin (MSLN) gene and its prognostic significance in breast cancer.
METHODS: To evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic significance of mesothelin, immunohistochemistry was used to assess the level of mesothelin protein in surgically resected, formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded invasive breast carcinoma specimens. Associations between mesothelin and other biomarkers, including oestrogen receptor (OR), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2/neu), were also evaluated.
RESULTS: A total of 182 breast carcinoma specimens were included. Mesothelin protein was present in the membrane of malignant cells. There was correlation between the presence of mesothelin in tumour cells and tumour infiltration of the lymph node. There was no correlation between the presence of mesothelin and HER2/neu protein, OR and PR in tumour cells. Mesothelin levels were significantly associated with decreased overall survival.
CONCLUSIONS: Lymph node status, tumour size, HER2/neu and mesothelin protein levels in breast cancer cells were independent prognostic factors. Mesothelin could be useful as a prognostic marker of overall survival in invasive breast cancer.
BACKGROUND: Pemetrexed, a multi-folate inhibitor combined with a platinum compound is the first-line treatment of malignant mesothelioma, but median survival is still one year. Intrinsic and acquired resistance to pemetrexed is common, but its biological basis is obscure. Here we report for the first time a genome-wide profile of acquired resistance in the tumour from an exceptional case with advanced pleural mesothelioma and almost six years survival after 39 cycles of second-line pemetrexed/carboplatin treatment.
METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Genome-wide analysis with Illumina BeadChip Kit of 25,000 genes was performed on mRNA from pre-treatment and post-resistance biopsies from this individual as well on case and control samples from our previously published study (in total 17 samples). Cell specific expression of proteins encoded by selected genes were analysed by immunohistochemistry. Serial serum levels of CA125, CYFRA21-1 and SMRP levels were examined. TS protein, the main target of pemetrexed was overexpressed. Proteins and genes related to DNA damage response, elongation and telomere extension and repair related directly and indirectly to platinum resistance were overexpressed, as the CHK1 protein and the genes CHEK2, LIG3, POLD1, POLA2, FANCD2, PRPF19, RECQ5 respectively, the last two not previously described in mesothelioma. We observed a down-regulation of leukocyte transendothelial migration and cell adhesion molecules pathways. Silencing of NT5C in two mesothelioma cell lines did not sensitize the cells to Pemetrexed. Proposed resistance markers are TS, KRT7/ CK7, TYMP/ thymidine phosphorylase and down-regulated SPARCL1 and CDKN1B. Moreover, comparison of the primary expression of the sensitive versus a primary resistant case showed multi-fold overexpressed DNA repair, cell cycle, cytokinesis, and spindle formation in the latter. Serum CA125 and SMRP reflected the clinical and radiological course and tumour burden.
CONCLUSIONS: Genome-wide microarray of mesothelioma pre- and post-resistance biopsies indicated a novel resistance signature to pemetrexed/carboplatin that deserve validation in a larger cohort.
Pantazopoulos I, Boura P, Xanthos T, Syrigos KEffectiveness of mesothelin family proteins and osteopontin for malignant mesothelioma.
Eur Respir J. 2013; 41(3):706-15 [PubMed
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Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive tumour with poor prognosis whose early diagnosis is difficult. Mesothelin, megakaryocyte potentiating factor (MPF) and osteopontin have attracted attention as biomarkers. The aim of the present review is to provide an overview regarding these candidate biomarkers for MM, and discuss their potential role in today's clinical practice. Mesothelin and MPF have good specificity but sub-optimal sensitivity for detection of MM, being negative both in the sarcomatoid histological sub-type and in almost half of epithelioid mesothelioma, especially in the early stages. Osteopontin is a marker of the duration of asbestos exposure, but lacks specificity for mesothelioma. Several patient characteristics influence the diagnostic accuracy of biomarkers and make the establishment of the "optimal" diagnostic threshold difficult. Mesothelin and MPF have proved useful in assessing response to treatment. Combining different markers together may lead to an improvement in diagnostic accuracy, but there is still need for research in this area. Extensive validation and further research is required to improve the use of serum markers in mesothelioma management. In the near future, their application in clinical practice is probably in monitoring response to therapy, rather than in guiding diagnostic decisions and risk assessment of asbestos-exposed populations.