New research sheds light on how malignant mesothelioma develops, recurs

New research indicates malignant mesothelioma develops due to mutations in multiple cells, which may explain why recurrence of the disease is not uncommon.

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare but serious cancer that can result from asbestos exposure. According to the American Cancer Society, detection of this cancer is often delayed, which can make treatment difficult and result in survival rates ranging from just 12 to 21 months, depending on the stage of the cancer. There is no absolute cure for mesothelioma; however, new research has offered insights into the nature of the disease, which could lead to more effective treatment in the future.

Multiple-cell mutations

According to Fox News, research from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center indicates that malignant mesothelioma likely occurs due to mutations in multiple cells, rather than the single-cell mutations that are believed to cause most cancers. Researchers compared cells from healthy control participants with cells collected during 14 biopsies of patients with malignant mesothelioma. Researchers concluded that malignant mesothelioma tumors likely stem from mutations in multiple cells.

These findings have important implications for the development of genomic medicines that could treat mesothelioma tumors in the future. Researchers now know that these medicines will most likely need to target mutations in more than one cell to be effective.

These findings also suggest why effective treatment of mesothelioma is often a challenge. The UHCC researchers note that after the removal of mesothelioma tumors, when the malignant cells apparently have been eliminated, it's not uncommon for patients to experience recurrence. The fact that mesothelioma may originate from mutations in multiple cells may explain why patients suffer from a higher risk of recurrence.

Common mesothelioma causes

Malignant mesothelioma is virtually always associated with exposure to asbestos. According to the National Cancer Institute, asbestos has been used in all of the following products:

  • Insulation
  • Cement or plastic materials for building and construction
  • Paint and other coatings
  • Vehicle parts
  • Plastics

People who work with or near any of these products may face a high risk of exposure. If workers develop mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease because of workplace exposure, they are generally entitled to compensation, which can help address the cost of expenses related to the disease, such as medical bills and wage loss.

Workplace occupational diseases

Under state law, Louisiana workers can seek compensation for occupational diseases that arise directly or indirectly in the course of their job duties. As there are limitations concerning how long workers have to file claims, time is of the essence.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease should consider meeting with an attorney. An attorney can explain a worker's rights under state law and provide assistance during the claims process.

Keywords: workplace, exposure, mesothelioma