Malignant mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos exposure that affects the mesothelium, which is the protective lining that covers the internal organs, such as the lungs, the heart, and the abdominal cavity.
It has been long thought that mesothelioma and other tumors arising from exposure to asbestos are caused by mutations in one cell, i.e., monoclonal, which then produces multiple clones.
Recent work by researchers from University of Hawaii Cancer Center suggests, however, that malignant mesothelioma is caused by mutations in multiple cells, i.e., polyclonal.
The new medical journal article about this study, “Evaluation of clonal origin of malignant mesothelioma”, was published December 4, 2014 in the Journal of Translational Medicine.
From a news report, “Cancer from asbestos caused by more than one cell mutation”, we get these observations from the lead researcher, Michele Carbone, of the University of Hawaii:
Our study indicates that malignant mesothelioma is the result of polyclonal tumors, a finding that has implications for our understanding of the disease and the clinic. For example, patients that have their tumors removed at the early stages of this type of cancer will most often go on to have a recurrence in spite of the appearance of the eradication of malignant mesothelioma. This new insight helps us understand why that may be…..
Our findings underscore the need to attack simultaneously several different molecular targets to try to eliminate the different malignant mesothelioma cell clones, as each clone may carry its own distinct set of molecular alterations.
We will continue to monitor the medical journals for new studies concerning malignant mesothelioma.
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