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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Global, Molecular Biology Intersects with Peritoneal Mesothelioma and the Chrysotile Defense

A new article in the Journal of Pathology presents molecular biology findings related to the oft-litigated question of whether chrystotile fibers can cause mesothelioma. In this instance, the focus is on peritoneal mesothelioma.

The research findings are from scientists in Asia. The authors conclude that their findings show that chysotile causes peritoneal mesothelioma. Right or wrong, the article highlights the future: ever increasing amounts of molecular biology findings from scientists around the globe.

The paper is here (pay per view). The abstract states:


Exposure to asbestos is a risk for malignant mesothelioma (MM) in humans. Among the commercially used types of asbestos (chrysotile, crocidolite, and amosite), the carcinogenicity of chrysotile is not fully appreciated. Here, we show that all three asbestos types similarly induced MM in the rat peritoneal cavity and that chrysotile caused the earliest mesothelioma development with a high fraction of sarcomatoid histology. The pathogenesis of chrysotile-induced mesothelial carcinogenesis was closely associated with iron overload: repeated administration of an iron chelator, nitrilotriacetic acid, which promotes the Fenton reaction, significantly reduced the period required for carcinogenesis; massive iron deposition was found in the peritoneal organs with high serum ferritin; and homozygous deletion of the CDKN2A/2B/ARF tumour suppressor genes, the most frequent genomic alteration in human MM and in iron-induced rodent carcinogenesis, was observed in 92.6% of the cases studied with array-based comparative genomic hybridization. The induced rat MM cells revealed high expression of mesoderm-specific transcription factors, Dlx5 and Hand1, and showed an iron regulatory profile of active iron uptake and utilization. These data indicate that chrysotile is a strong carcinogen when exposed to mesothelia, acting through the induction of local iron overload. Therefore, an intervention to remove local excess iron might be a strategy to prevent MM after asbestos exposure." (emphasis added)

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