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Study Examines Portion of Germline Genetic Variants Found Among Mesothelioma Patients

Mesothelioma patients may benefit from universal germline genetic testing, according to a new study in JAMA Network Open. While asbestos exposure is a key risk factor for mesothelioma development, a portion of patients also harbor pathogenic variants that increase solid tumor risk. A University of Chicago-led team examined a cohort of 161 mesothelioma patients who underwent tumor-only and germline next-generation sequencing. Sixteen percent of patients had a pathogenic or likely pathogenic germline variant, most commonly in a gene linked to a hereditary cancer syndrome. These variants were present, the researchers note, at a rate similar to other tumor types like metastatic prostate cancer, epithelial ovarian cancer, and exocrine pancreatic cancer in which universal germline genetic testing is recommended. "Given the high yield of patients with mesothelioma harboring a P/LP germline variant, which is similar to other cancer types where universal genetic testing is standard, it is reasonable to consider recommending universal germline screening in future mesothelioma treatment guidelines," the researchers write.