Malignant mesothelioma is one of the rarest cancers, with only about 3,500 people diagnosed with the disease in the United States each year. Of those 3,500, only about 20%, or 700 patients, are diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a form of the disease that impacts the lining of the peritoneal cavity. The extremely small number of patients makes studying the disease a challenge, and leads researchers to look back at old patient records for valuable data. One such retrospective study was recently conducted to determine the role of the protein PD-L1 in the disease. The results will guide future treatment protocols.
Rutgers Cancer Institute Study Confirms High Expression of PD-L1 in Aggressive Mesothelioma
According to researchers from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, 75% of mesothelioma cancer cells identified in patients treated over the last three years expressed high levels of PD-L1, and the patients that demonstrated these high levels succumbed to their disease faster than those whose tumor cells did not overexpress the protein.
Presenting the team’s findings at the Society of Surgical Oncology 2021 International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care virtual meeting, senior author H. Richard Alexander, Jr., MD, FACS, chief surgical officer, chief of surgical oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute and regional director of surgery for Monmouth Medical Center explained that by identifying PD-L1’s role in mesothelioma they are able to target future treatment protocols to suppress its actions through a mechanism known as checkpoint inhibition
Researchers Use Biorepository of Mesothelioma Tissue
Referring to mesothelioma as an “understudied cancer,” Dr. Alexander explained that through access to a biorepository of tissue he and his colleagues were able to study the cells of more than 20 patients who had been treated at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey over the previous three years. The group quantified PD-L1 on these patients’ tumor cells, as well as how it related to their survival. They concluded that PD-L1 in peritoneal mesothelioma patients may inhibit the immune system from responding to cancer cells, and that checkpoint inhibitors may offset this activity.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, access to state-of-the-art care can make all the difference in your survival. For information on how the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.