السبت، 7 يوليو، 2012

Mesothelioma

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Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, malignant mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from transformed cells originating in themesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.[1]
The most common anatomical site for the development of mesothelioma is the pleura (the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it can also arise in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), and the pericardium (the sac that surrounds the heart),[2] or the tunica vaginalis (a sac that surrounds the testis).
Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked in jobs where they inhaled asbestos, or were exposed to asbestos dust and fibers in other ways. It has also been suggested that washing clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos increases their risk for developing mesothelioma.[3] Unlike lung cancer, there seems to be no association between mesothelioma and tobacco smoking, but smoking greatly increases the risk of other asbestos-induced cancers.[4] Some people who were exposed to asbestos have collected damages for asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma. Compensation via asbestos funds or class action lawsuits is an important issue in law practices regarding mesothelioma (see asbestos and the law).
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall) or chest wallpain, and constitutional signs such as unexplained weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan, but must be confirmed pathologically, either with serous effusion cytology or with a biopsy (removing a sample of the suspicious tissue) and microscopicexamination. A thoracoscopy (inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to acquire biopsy material, and allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (a procedure called pleurodesis), preventing more fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapyradiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing.


Signs and symptoms

Symptoms or signs of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years (or more) after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space (pleural effusion) are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.
Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:
  • Chest wall pain
  • Pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or anemia
  • Wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
  • Blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up (hemoptysis)
In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung. The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.
Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:
  • Abdominal pain
  • Ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
  • A mass in the abdomen
  • Problems with bowel function
  • Weight loss
In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:
  • Blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation, a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
  • Jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
  • Low blood sugar level
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
  • Severe ascites
A mesothelioma does not usually spread to the bone, brain, or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors are usually found only on one side of the lungs.
Cause
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma.[5] In the United States, asbestos is the major cause of malignant mesothelioma[6] and has been considered "indisputably"[7]associated with the development of mesothelioma. Indeed, the relationship between asbestos and mesothelioma is so strong that many consider mesothelioma a “signal” or “sentinel” tumor.[8][9][10][11] A history of asbestos exposure exists in most cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. In rare cases, mesothelioma has also been associated with irradiation, intrapleural thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as erionite. Some studies suggested that simianvirus 40 (SV40) might have acted as a cofactor in the development of mesothelioma,[12] but these studies have not been corroborated by later research.
Asbestos was known in antiquity, but it was not mined and widely used commercially until the late 19th century. Its use greatly increased during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not publicly known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the official position of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. EPA is that protections and "permissible exposure limits" required by U.S. regulations, while adequate to prevent most asbestos-related non-malignant disease, they are not adequate to prevent or protect against asbestos-related cancers such as mesothelioma.[13]Likewise, the British Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states formally that any threshold for mesothelioma must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes, therefore, HSE assumes that no such "safe" threshold exists. Others have noted as well that there is no evidence of a threshold level below which there is no risk of mesothelioma.[14] There appears to be a linear, dose-response relationship, with increasing dose producing increasing disease.[15]Nevertheless, mesothelioma may be related to brief, low level or indirect exposures to asbestos.[7] The dose necessary for effect appears to be lower for asbestos-induced mesothelioma than for pulmonary asbestosis or lung cancer.[7] Again, there is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos as it relates to increased risk of mesothelioma.
The duration of exposure to asbestos causing mesothelioma can be short. For example, cases of mesothelioma have been documented with only 1–3 months of exposure.[16][17] People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure.
Latency, the time from first exposure to manifestation of disease, is prolonged in the case of mesothelioma. It is virtually never less than fifteen years and peaks at 30–40 years.[7] In a review of occupationally related mesothelioma cases, the median latency was 32 years.[18] Based upon the data from Peto et al., the risk of mesothelioma appears to increase to the third or fourth power from first exposure.[15]
Environmental exposures
Incidence of mesothelioma had been found to be higher in populations living near naturally occurring asbestos. For example, in central Cappadocia, Turkey, mesothelioma was causing 50% of all deaths in three small villages — Tuzköy, Karain and Sarıhıdır. Initially, this was attributed to erionite, a zeolite mineral with similar properties to asbestos. Recently, however, detailed epidemiological investigation showed that erionite causes mesothelioma mostly in families with a genetic predisposition.[19][20] The documented presence of asbestos fibers in water supplies and food products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these fibers.
Occupational
Exposure to asbestos fibers has been recognized as an occupational health hazard since the early 20th century. Numerous epidemiological studies have associated occupational exposure to asbestos with the development of pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung and larynx, gastrointestinal tumors, and diffuse malignant mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum. Asbestos has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, gaskets, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation.
Commercial asbestos mining at Wittenoom, Western Australia, occurred between 1945 and 1966. A cohort study of miners employed at the mine reported that while no deaths occurred within the first 10 years after crocidolite exposure, 85 deaths attributable to mesothelioma had occurred by 1985. By 1994, 539 reported deaths due to mesothelioma had been reported in Western Australia.
Paraoccupational secondary exposure
Family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos related diseases.[21][22] This risk may be the result of exposure to asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestos fibres, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
Asbestos in buildings
Many building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of asbestos may contain asbestos. Those performing renovation works or DIY activities may expose themselves to asbestos dust. In the UK use of Chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue asbestos was banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials.

Diagnosis

CXR demonstrating a mesothelioma
CT scan of a patient with mesothelioma,coronal section (the section follows the plane that divides the body in a front and a back half). The mesothelioma is indicated by yellow arrows, the central pleural effusion(fluid collection) is marked with a yellow star. Red numbers: (1) right lung, (2) spine, (3) left lung, (4) ribs, (5) descending part of the aorta, (6) spleen, (7) left kidney, (8) right kidney, (9) liver.
Micrograph of a pleural fluidcytopathology specimen showing mesothelioma.
Micrographs showing mesothelioma in a core biopsy.
Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for mesothelioma. A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure and increases suspicion of mesothelioma. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI is usually performed. If a large amount of fluid is present, abnormal cells may be detected bycytopathology if this fluid is aspirated with a syringe. For pleural fluid, this is done by thoracentesis or tube thoracostomy (chest tube); for ascites, withparacentesis or ascitic drain; and for pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. While absence of malignant cells on cytology does not completely exclude mesothelioma, it makes it much more unlikely, especially if an alternative diagnosis can be made (e.g. tuberculosisheart failure). Using conventional cytology diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is difficult, but immunocytochemistry has greatly enhanced the accuracy of cytology.
Generally, a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. A doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. Alternatively, the chest surgeon might directly open the chest (thoracotomy). If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a laparoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
Immunohistochemical studies play an important role for the pathologist in differentiating malignant mesothelioma from neoplastic mimics. There are numerous tests and panels available. No single test is perfect for distinguishing mesothelioma from carcinoma or even benign versus malignant.
Typical immunohistochemistry results
PositiveNegative
EMA (epithelial membrane antigen) in a membranous distributionCEA (carcinoembryonic antigen)
WT1 (Wilms' tumour 1)B72.3
CalretininMOC-3 1
Mesothelin-1CD15
Cytokeratin 5/6Ber-EP4
HBME-1 (human mesothelial cell 1)TTF-1 (thyroid transcription factor-1)
There are three histological types of malignant mesothelioma: (1) Epithelioid; (2) Sarcomatoid; and (3) Biphasic (Mixed). Epithelioid comprises about 50-60% of malignant mesothelioma cases and generally holds a better prognosis than the Sarcomatoid or Biphasic subtypes.[23]

[edit]Staging

Staging of mesothelioma is based on the recommendation by the International Mesothelioma Interest Group.[24] TNM classification of the primary tumor,lymph node involvement, and distant metastasis is performed. Mesothelioma is staged Ia–IV (one-A to four) based on the TNM status.[24][25]

[edit]Screening

There is no universally agreed protocol for screening people who have been exposed to asbestos. Screening tests might diagnose mesothelioma earlier than conventional methods thus improving the survival prospects for patients. The serum osteopontin level might be useful in screening asbestos-exposed people for mesothelioma. The level of soluble mesothelin-related protein is elevated in the serum of about 75% of patients at diagnosis and it has been suggested that it may be useful for screening.[26] Doctors have begun testing the Mesomark assay which measures levels of solublemesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) released by diseased mesothelioma cells.[27]

[edit]Pathophysiology

Diffuse pleural mesothelioma with extensive involvement of the pericardium.
The mesothelium consists of a single layer of flattened to cuboidal cells forming the epithelial lining of the serous cavities of the body including theperitonealpericardial and pleural cavities. Deposition of asbestos fibers in the parenchyma of the lung may result in the penetration of the visceral pleurafrom where the fiber can then be carried to the pleural surface, thus leading to the development of malignant mesothelial plaques. The processes leading to the development of peritoneal mesothelioma remain unresolved, although it has been proposed that asbestos fibers from the lung are transported to the abdomen and associated organs via the lymphatic system. Additionally, asbestos fibers may be deposited in the gut after ingestion of sputum contaminated with asbestos fibers.
Pleural contamination with asbestos or other mineral fibers has been shown to cause cancer. Long thin asbestos fibers (blue asbestos, amphibolefibers) are more potent carcinogens than "feathery fibers" (chrysotile or white asbestos fibers).[7] However, there is now evidence that smaller particles may be more dangerous than the larger fibers. They remain suspended in the air where they can be inhaled, and may penetrate more easily and deeper into the lungs. "We probably will find out a lot more about the health aspects of asbestos from [the World Trade Center attack], unfortunately," said Dr. Alan Fein, chief of pulmonary and critical-care medicine at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. Dr. Fein has treated several patients for "World Trade Center syndrome" or respiratory ailments from brief exposures of only a day or two near the collapsed buildings.[28]
Mesothelioma development in rats has been demonstrated following intra-pleural inoculation of phosphorylated chrysotile fibers. It has been suggested that in humans, transport of fibers to the pleura is critical to the pathogenesis of mesothelioma. This is supported by the observed recruitment of significant numbers of macrophages and other cells of the immune system to localized lesions of accumulated asbestos fibers in the pleural and peritoneal cavities of rats. These lesions continued to attract and accumulate macrophages as the disease progressed, and cellular changes within the lesion culminated in a morphologically malignant tumor.
Experimental evidence suggests that asbestos acts as a complete carcinogen with the development of mesothelioma occurring in sequential stages of initiation and promotion. The molecular mechanisms underlying the malignant transformation of normal mesothelial cells by asbestos fibers remain unclear despite the demonstration of its oncogenic capabilities (see next-but-one paragraph). However, complete in vitro transformation of normal human mesothelial cells to malignant phenotype following exposure to asbestos fibers has not yet been achieved. In general, asbestos fibers are thought to act through direct physical interactions with the cells of the mesothelium in conjunction with indirect effects following interaction with inflammatory cells such as macrophages.
Analysis of the interactions between asbestos fibers and DNA has shown that phagocytosed fibers are able to make contact with chromosomes, often adhering to the chromatin fibers or becoming entangled within the chromosome. This contact between the asbestos fiber and the chromosomes or structural proteins of the spindle apparatus can induce complex abnormalities. The most common abnormality is monosomy of chromosome 22. Other frequent abnormalities include structural rearrangement of 1p, 3p, 9p and 6q chromosome arms.
Common gene abnormalities in mesothelioma cell lines include deletion of the tumor suppressor genes:
Asbestos has also been shown to mediate the entry of foreign DNA into target cells. Incorporation of this foreign DNA may lead to mutations and oncogenesis by several possible mechanisms:
Asbestos fibers have been shown to alter the function and secretory properties of macrophages, ultimately creating conditions which favour the development of mesothelioma. Following asbestos phagocytosis, macrophages generate increased amounts of hydroxyl radicals, which are normal by-products of cellular anaerobic metabolism. However, these free radicals are also knownclastogenic and membrane-active agents thought to promote asbestos carcinogenicity. These oxidants can participate in the oncogenic process by directly and indirectly interacting with DNA, modifying membrane-associated cellular events, including oncogene activation and perturbation of cellular antioxidant defences.
Asbestos also may possess immunosuppressive properties. For example, chrysotile fibres have been shown to depress the in vitro proliferation of phytohemagglutinin-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes, suppress natural killer cell lysis and significantly reduce lymphokine-activated killer cell viability and recovery. Furthermore, genetic alterations in asbestos-activated macrophages may result in the release of potent mesothelial cell mitogens such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) which in turn, may induce the chronic stimulation and proliferation of mesothelial cells after injury by asbestos fibres.




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