Over and over again, researchers and oncologists have pointed to a personalized approach to treating malignant mesothelioma. They’ve found that by digging into the genetic codes of individual patients and searching for microscopic indicators in each patient’s cells, they can create better, more tailored treatment options that are appropriate, provide the most realistic approach, and deliver the highest possible quality of life for each patient’s journey.
Repair Enzymes Offer Clues to Mesothelioma Patient Prognosis
The most recent example of how a patient’s hidden biochemistry can tell doctors how well or poorly a patient is likely to respond to treatment was discovered by Italian pathologists. Led by Zito Marino of the University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, they found that when two specific DNA repair enzymes — excision repair cross-complementing group 1 (ERCC1) and ribonucleotide reductase subunit M1 (RRM1) — were present, patients were likely to have a poor prognosis and require an alternative treatment to the standard course offered patients with better potential outcomes.
The scientists found that the coexpression of these two markers in mesothelioma patients is an indication of more aggressive disease. Though most patients are provided with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy regardless of the course of their disease, in some patients it is geared towards prolonging life while in others the purpose is palliative.
Conversely, Low Expression of Biomarkers Show Longer Progression-Free Survival
Previous research that the group has done have linked lower levels of ERCC1 expression to improved outcomes following cisplatin chemotherapy treatment. By examining tissue samples of previous patients to assess their levels of the enzyme the researchers believe that they can use those levels to determine appropriate treatments going forward.
Published in the August issue of the journal Applied Immunohistochemistry & Molecular Morphology, Marino wrote, “The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the baseline expression and impact on the outcome of ERCC1 and RRM1 to define their putative usefulness as biomarkers in MPM. We developed a multiplex immunohistochemistry (IHC) assay for the simultaneous detection of these 2 targets in the same tissue section to investigate their possible colocalization. In conclusion, we have shown that the coexpression of ERCC1 and RRM1 is a frequent biological event in MPM that could define a group of patients with the worst OS. Our results should be validated through a larger prospective study to expand the case studies and evaluate the better treatment options for MPM patients carrying ERCC1-RRM1 coexpression.”
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, the first step is to find appropriate care. For help with this and for other resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.