Newswise — A new study investigated the expression of the primary cilium in mesothelioma, finding that primary cilia is preferentially lost in the more aggressive subtype of mesothelioma and further research may confirm its potential prognostic and diagnostic value.

This is the first evidence that different mesothelioma, characterized by different levels of aggressiveness, show a different pattern of primary cilium expression.  

Primary cilium is an organelle protruding from the cell membrane that, like an antenna, collects signals from the extracellular space and transduces information into cells. Many tumors do not express the primary cilium thereby overriding its tumor suppressor function.

Despite the importance of the primary cilium, there is still a lot to understand about its functions.

The study, published in the journal Cancers, was directed by Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at the Department of Medical Biotechnology of the University of Siena and President of the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO). 

"With this study we have identified a possible marker of the heterogeneity of this orphan disease, mesothelioma, a tumor with still poor prognosis," said prof. Giordano. “The improvement of existing treatments for mesothelioma is mainly hampered by the heterogeneity that characterizes it.”

"This study underlines the importance of tailored therapies for mesothelioma patients," said Cristiana Bellan, Professor at the Department of Medical Biotechnology of the University of Sien, "and in this context our analysis can help identify which patients could benefit from specific treatment.”

Journal Reference:  Barbarino, M. et al. Analysis of Primary Cilium Expression and Hedgehog Pathway Activation in Mesothelioma Throws Back Its Complex Biology. Cancers 2022, 14, 5216.


About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit

Journal Link: Cancers