Mesothelioma is a deadly cancer mainly caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. Unfortunately, mesothelioma is generally diagnosed at an already advanced stage and none of the therapeutic strategies tried so far is able to eradicate the disease. So new biomarkers that could help to identify the disease at an earlier stage are urgently needed.
Also, a more thorough understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying mesothelioma malignant features could guide the application of more successful targeted approaches or combination strategies.
Researchers from the team of Antonio Giordano, Director and Founder of the Sbarro Health Research Organization at Philadelphia, PA (www.shro.org) and Professor of Pathology at the University of Siena, Italy, set out to address these urgent needs.
The authors analyzed the expression of tiny RNA molecules –microRNAs –which are key regulators of gene expression programmes. Through a microarray analysis, they identified a signature of 48 microRNAs that are differentially expressed between the normal mesothelial tissue and the mesothelioma specimens, provided by Luca Luzzi and Cristiana Bellan from the University of Siena.
A subset of these microRNAs was further studied through an alternate method (qRT-PCR) and their differential expression was also validated in an extended case series. Within this list of new potential candidate biomarkers, able to distinguish cancer from normal tissue, the authors also identified microRNAs previously associated to mesothelioma, such as miR-145 which is implicated in mesothelioma development and resistance to chemotherapy, further supporting their role as a classifiers of benign versus malignant mesothelial tissues.[Article continues at original source]
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