Causes of Mesothelioma: Overexpression During Mitosis

As cells proceed through mitosis they are monitored by a system of chemical controls that check for DNA damage and look for the inability to perform essential cellular processes. If this system detects damage or errant functions, RNA message molecules are used to cause the cells to stop dividing. These controls cause damaged cells to either repair themselves or self-destruct. The latter process is called apoptosis or programmed cell death.

The Development of Mesothelioma Cancer Cells

Participating in cancer development are protein encoding genes referred to as oncogenes. When oncogenes are mutated it will often lead to the transformation of normal cells into cancer cells. With the overexpression of oncogenes, the balance in the normal cell apoptosis program (normal cellular pattern of destruction of abnormal cells) is broken and cell survival and proliferation is largely elevated which results in the growth of tumors.

The Five Classifications of oncogenes:

  1. Growth factors
  2. Growth factor receptors
  3. Signal transducers
  4. Transcription factors
  5. Others, including programed cell death regulators


Many of the drugs in development will target one of these classifications and some drugs will actually target multiple oncogenes.

Current mesothelioma research has repeatedly found abnormalities in mesothelioma cases where deletions of chromosome regions 1p, 3p, 9p, and 6p, and the loss of chromosome 22 have been observed. It is believed that these deletions affect tumor suppressor genes, allowing for the development of mesothelioma.

Do you have specific questions about the causes of mesothelioma, including details on the risks of asbestos exposure? The Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation is here to offer support guidance and help. Talk to a mesothelioma expert for the latest information on research and clinical trials.

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