Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs (known as the mesothelium). The most common area affected by mesothelioma cancer is the lining of the lungs and the chest wall.

Mesothelioma Detection:

We found 16 of 28 small cell lung cancers, 17 of 31 non-small cell lung tumors, 2 of 3 carcinoids and 12 of 14 mesotheliomas that exhibited cytogenetic abnormalities of chromosome 22. To determine if the neurofibromatosis type 2 gene (NF2 ) located on chromosome 22 participates in the oncogenesis of these neoplasms, we studied DNA from lung cancer cell lines and mesothelioma using Southern blot analysis and the single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) technique for mutations covering 8 of the 16 known exons of NF2.

We detected 7 mutations in 17 mesotheliomas (41%) within the coding region of NF2 but none in 75 lung carcinoma cell lines (38 small cell lung tumors, 34 non-small cell lung tumors, and 3 carcinoids). These mutations were found to be somatic when normal tissues were available for testing. Four mesothelioma cell lines had relatively large deletions (∼10-50 kilobases) in the NF2 gene that were detectable by Southern blot analysis. Two mesothelioma cell lines had nonsensical mutations at codons 57 and 341, respectively.

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Other mesotheliomas obtained as a sample directly from a patient, presented a microdeletion of 10 base pairs from nucleotide 1004 to nucleotide 1013 causing a mutation of the frameshift. These results suggest that the NF2 gene participates in oncogenesis in a subset of mesotheliomas but not in lung tumors.

Mesothelioma Survival Rates:

The survival rate of mesothelioma explains the percentage of people who live after diagnosis. According to the American Cancer Society, malignant mesothelioma is a fatal disease that cannot be cured completely. The 1-year pleural mesothelioma survival rate is about 73%. Unfortunately, less than 12% can survive longer than five years