Background: An increasing incidence of malignant mesothelioma (MM) cases in patients with low levels of asbestos exposure suggests the interference of alternative cofactors. SV40 infection was detected, as co-morbidity factor, only in 22% of asbestos-MM patients from a North-Eastern Italy area. An additional mechanism of injury related to asbestos exposure in MM development has been recently associated to inflammatory responses, principally driven by interleukin (IL)-1 beta (ß) activated within the inflammasome complex.NLRP3 inflammosome has been described as the intracellular sensor for asbestos able to induce inflammasome activation and IL-1ß secretion while NLRP1 is expressed in lung epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages and contributes to the immune response and to survival/apoptosis balance. This study proposes to evaluate the impact of known NLRP3 and NLRP1 polymorphisms in the individual susceptibility to asbestos-induced mesothelioma in subjects from a hyperendemic area for MM.
Methods: 134 Italian patients with diagnosis of mesothelioma due (MMAE, n=69) or not (MMAF, n=65) to asbestos, 256 healthy Italian blood donors and 101 Italian healthy subjects exposed to asbestos (HCAE) were genotyped for NLRP1 (rs2670660 and rs12150220) and NLRP3 (rs35829419 and rs10754558) polymorphisms.
Results: While NLRP3 SNPs were not associated to mesothelioma, the NLRP1 rs12150220 allele T was significantly more frequent in MMAE (0.55) than in HCAE (0.41) (p=0.011; OR=1.79) suggesting a predisponent effect of this allele on the development of mesothelioma. This effect was amplified when the NLRP1 rs2670660 allele was combined with the NLRP1 rs12150220 allele (p=0.004; OR=0.52).
Conclusion: Although NLRP3 SNPs was not involved in mesothelioma predisposition, these data proposed NLRP1 as a novel factor possibly involved in the development of mesothelioma.