A key role of microRNAs as early biomarkers in mesothelioma


Barbara Ficociello, Claudio Minoia, Elena Sturchio

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that is caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos. Although the use of asbestos has been reduced dramatically in recent decades, the incidence of mesothelioma has remained steady. Scientific literature has consistently shown that this disease has a latency period ranging between 20 and 60 years, then it will continue to rank among major social and healthcare issues for decades to come. There is no single established path to a mesothelioma diagnosis. However, the process often involves multiple procedures. The lack of biomarkers capable of providing predictive estimates for malignant pleural mesothelioma in relation to asbestos exposure in work and environment settings is a significant shortfall. The latter shortfall is compounded by a present-day lack of clinical or therapeutic options capable of stalling the development of pathology; hence the mean survival rate (from time of diagnosis) of approximately 10 months.This study provides a review of current knowledge on etiopathogenetic mechanisms in mesothelioma, and on diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers. As reported by recent literature, studies on microRNAs have proved to be of special interest. Main focus is addressed in particular at current knowledge progresses concerning the role of microRNAs in malignant pleural mesothelioma, showing the significance and uses of such biomarkers.A comparative analysisof different data from various reported papers reveals the consistency or the divergence of these results providing useful clues to suggest new directions in future research studies.