Malignant mesothelioma (MM) constitutes a very aggressive tumor that arises from the pleural or peritoneal cavities and is highly refractory to conventional therapies. Several key genetic alterations are associated with the development and progression of MM including mutations of the CDKN2A/ARF
, and BAP1
tumor-suppressor genes. Notably, activating oncogene mutations are very rare; thus, it is difficult to develop effective inhibitors to treat MM. The NF2
gene encodes merlin, a protein that regulates multiple cell-signaling cascades including the Hippo pathway. MMs also exhibit inactivation of Hippo pathway components including LATS1/2, strongly suggesting that merlin-Hippo pathway dysregulation plays a key role in the development and progression of MM. Furthermore, Hippo pathway inactivation has been shown to result in constitutive activation of the YAP1/TAZ transcriptional coactivators, thereby conferring malignant phenotypes to mesothelial cells. Critical YAP1/TAZ target genes, including prooncogenic CCDN1
, have also been shown to enhance the malignant phenotypes of MM cells. Together, these data indicate the Hippo pathway as a therapeutic target for the treatment of MM, and support the development of new strategies to effectively target the activation status of YAP1/TAZ as a promising therapeutic modality for this formidable disease.
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