The role of our genes in mesothelioma

People often wonder they have got mesothelioma. Sometimes this happens after a very small exposure to asbestos. Our genes are one of the things which play a part. For instance, one gene, BAP1 or BRCA1 associated protein-1, mutates in some people. This seems to make them more vulnerable to mesothelioma.


The same gene also seems to play a role in something called chemoresistance. This could help to explain why some patients respond better to chemotherapy than others. In future, if their doctors know that a patient is carrying the gene mutation, they could offer a different treatment to them.

Genetic testing for a mutation in the BAP1 gene isn’t common at the moment and there is no way to know whether or not you have inherited it. But in the future our genes are likely to play a much bigger role in how doctors decide to treat us.

Where did we find this story?

The scientific paper explaining the research about this comes from the university hospitals in Zurich and Frankfurt. The researchers studied the case histories of patients and then carried out tests to see if they had the gene mutation. Th3se theories still have to be confirmed by larger studies. The lead author was Do Kathrin Oehl. You can read the scientific paper here and an article about it here.

Posted in