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Clin Lung Cancer. 2013 Sep;14(5):558-567.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2013.04.013. Epub 2013 Jun 27.

ERCC1, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and βIII-tubulin: resistance proteins associated with response and outcome to platinum-based chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma.

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Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology, West German Cancer Center, University Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.



Platinum-based chemotherapy is besides the standard antifolate therapy with pemetrexed, the cornerstone for treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), and its efficacy depends on several DNA repair enzymes. Therefore, these enzymes could be biomarkers for "tailoring" chemotherapy. This study evaluated enzymes involved in repair of platinum-caused DNA damage, potentially resulting in a biomarker panel associated with patient response and outcome to platinum-based chemotherapy.


Pre- or posttreatment specimens from a total of 103 patients with MPM who were undergoing first-line chemotherapy were tested separately. Immunohistochemistry for ERCC1 (endonuclease excision repair cross-complementing 1), MLH1 (MutL homologue 1), MutS homologue (MSH) 2, MSH6, and βIII-tubulin protein expression, and pyrosequencing for ERCC1 codon 118 and C8092A polymorphisms were performed, and their results were correlated to clinicopathologic data.


ERCC1, MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, and βIII-tubulin were expressed in human MPM specimens at different intensities. When considering only pretreatment specimens, MSH6 protein levels were correlated to progression during chemotherapy (P = .0281). MLH1 protein levels (P = .0205), and ERCC1 codon 118 polymorphisms (P ≤ .0001) were significantly associated with progression-free survival. A significant association between ERCC1 protein levels and overall survival was noted (P = .032). Analyses of posttreatment specimens revealed significant associations between βIII-tubulin protein levels and progression-free survival (P = .0066). ERCC1 C8092A polymorphisms were significantly associated with progression-free survival and overall survival (P = .0463 and P = .0080, respectively) in this group.


Enzymes involved in DNA repair mechanisms are associated with patient response and outcome to platinum-based chemotherapy. Their assessment may be a helpful tool to tailor platinum-based chemotherapy of MPM patients who might expect the largest clinical benefit. Prospective validation of this biomarker panel is warranted.


Biomarker; DNA repair; Immunohistochemistry; Pyrosequencing; Tailored therapy

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