Study Finds Enzyme May Increase Mesothelioma Cancer Aggression

Italian researchers indicate that have identified a protein that may be a factor in predicting how aggressive mesothelioma cancer will be for those exposed to asbestos. 

In a study published online last month by the medical journal Oncotarget, researchers from the University of Torino in Italy found that the membrane glycoprotein CD157 may enhance the aggressiveness of malignant pleural mesothelioma and could be a predictor of worst outcomes among certain patients.

Researchers tested nine malignant pleural mesothelioma cell lines and found that four of them tested positive for higher levels of CD157, an enzyme also believed to be linked to ovarian cancer. According to the findings, CD157 was heavily present in 85.2% of the cell lines linked to clinically aggressive mesothelioma, especially among patients with biphasic mesothelioma.

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Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Exposure to asbestos can cause the development of mesothelioma. Lawsuits have been filed nationwide against asbestos manufacturers.

The findings could help doctors prioritize mesothelioma treatments for patients, with those who have high levels of the enzyme placed in a higher risk group, researchers said.

“These findings indicate that CD157 is implicated in multiple aspects of MPM progression and suggest that CD157 expression could be used to stratify patients into different prognostic groups or to select patients that might benefit from particular chemotherapeutic approach,” the researchers concluded.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer, which is only known to be caused by exposure to asbestos and breathing asbestos fibers. It is a lethal disease that is often at a very advanced stage when a diagnosis is made, resulting in a very short life-expectancy.

Mesothelioma lawsuits are the longest-running mass tort in U.S. history, with more than 600,000 people having filed a case against more than 6,000 defendants after being diagnosed with cancer that was allegedly caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

In addition to claims for workers exposed to asbestos, in recent years there have been a growing number of secondary exposure mesothelioma cases have been brought in recent years, with wives, children and other family members alleging they developed the disease after breathing asbestos fibers brought home in the hair or on the clothing of individuals who worked directly with the material.

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