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Permalink New Study Suggests Mesothelioma May Be Caused by Mutations in Multiple Cells

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Hawaii Cancer center is breaking new ground in the scientific understanding of mesothelioma. According to the researchers, mesothelioma may be caused by multiple cell mutations rather than a mutation in a single cell – which is the case in most cancers.

The study, published earlier this month in the Journal of Translational Medicine ( JTM), began when researchers attempted to determine if mesothelioma was monoclonal, meaning that it is derived from a single cell mutation which replicates and causes cancer to grow. This is the case with many types of cancers.

Researchers analyzed patterns of “clonality” by comparing samples from individuals with mesothelioma to samples from healthy individuals and others with monoclonal cancers. Ultimately, their findings suggested that “malignant mesothelioma is the result of polyclonal tumors,” or mutations in multiple distinct cells.

The University of Hawaii study is a significant step toward improving our understanding of this tragic disease, and may lead to improvements in the ways we treat mesothelioma patients. For example, researchers are using the study findings to suggest that treatments should be targeting multiple cancerous cells with different types of mutations, rather than a single monoclonal cell. In the past, mesothelioma patients have been treated with the same monoclonal antibodies common with cancer treatments.

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