New Study Shows DNA Screening Can Help With Mesothelioma Treatment

Illustration of mesothelioma research

A recently published study shows DNA screening could help doctors more effectively treat mesothelioma patients using platinum-based chemotherapy regimens. Several key genes have been marked as helpful in predicting patients’ responses to their treatments.

The study is called “Screening of Pleural Mesotheliomas for DNA-damage Repair Player by Digital Gene Expression Analysis Can Enhance Clinical Management of Patients Receiving Platin-Based Chemotherapy.”

Chemotherapy was developed in the 1940s and is one of the most widely employed treatments for all types of cancer. Today, over 100 chemotherapy drugs exist on the market. Common chemotherapy drugs used to treat mesothelioma include Alimta®, Cisplatin, Carboplatin, Gemcitabine, Onconase, and Navelbine.

Poor efficacy is related to chemotherapy because platinum-compound agents work by inducing damages in the DNA of cancer cells. So the ability of cells to detect and repair the damages could be one of the characteristics that can help predict a patient’s outcome after chemotherapy.

Results in the patients showed DNA damage response “plays a crucial role” in how well mesothelioma cells respond to chemotherapy.

Twenty-four pleural mesothelioma patients participated in the study. Twelve patients got Alimta/Platinol® or Alimta/Platinol/Paraplatin® after surgery. The other 12 got Platinol® followed by Alimta® before surgery.

Thirty genes were identified as being related to the cell’s ability to recognize and repair DNA damage. Several of these were associated with mesothelioma spread, treatment response, and overall survival.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Robert Fred Henry Walter of the University of Duisburg-Essen wrote, “CDC25A and PARP1 gene expression were correlated with lymph node spread, BRCA1 and TP73 expression levels with higher IMIG stage.”

Also, it was found that mesothelioma tumor progression may be linked to CHECK1 and XRCC2 expression.

“After a prospective validation, these markers may improve clinical and pathological practice, finally leading to a patient’s benefit by an enhanced clinical management,” concluded the report.

This is another example of a promising experimental therapy to come out of a clinical trial. The next step in determining whether this is a viable and effective treatment is to validate the markers in mesothelioma patients for eventual use in clinical practice.