View Full Version : Researchers Study Cancer Stem Cells as Therapeutic Targets for Mesothelioma

07-27-2010, 03:20 PM
Monday, July 26th, 2010

In a study published in the International Journal of Oncology, Cortes-Dericks and colleagues tested whether cancer stem cells in malignant pleural mesothelioma express resistance to cisplatin and pemetrexed, two chemotherapy drugs commonly used to treat mesothelioma cancer.

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer almost exclusively caused by asbestos exposure. Because there is no cure for this disease, the mesothelioma life expectancy for most patients ranges between four and 18 months after diagnosis, hence the reason for advancing research on this condition.

The study, titled ?Putative Cancer Stem Cells in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Show Resistance to Cisplatin and Pemetrexed,? evaluates the hypothesis that cancer stem cells existing in tumors are responsible for relapse after chemotherapy.

The researchers selected specific cancer stem cell markers to analyze, including CD133, Bmi-1, uPAR and ABCG2 in three malignant pleural mesothelioma cell lines and normal mesothelial cells. The chemotherapeutic resistance for each marker was measured by finding the change in microRNA levels following treatment with either cisplatin or pemetrexed.

The study found cancer stem cell markers Bmi-1, uPAR and ABCG2 show a distinct role in the chemotherapeutic resistance to cisplatin and pemetrexed within malignant mesothelioma. However, these markers did not express chemotherapy resistance in normal mesothelial cells. The marker CD133 showed chemotherapy resistant characteristics in both normal and malignant pleural mesothelioma cells.

The researchers concluded, ?Specific targeting of these drug-resistant cells, while considering the functional heterogeneity of the malignant pleural mesothelioma subtypes, may contribute to more focused and effective chemotherapeutic regimens for malignant pleural mesothelioma.?