Telomere Length May Be Key to Earlier Detection of Pleural Mesothelioma

Japanese pathologists have a new theory that may lead to earlier detection and better outcomes for people with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Researchers led by the International University of Health and Welfare in Tokyo say exposure to asbestos appears to shorten the telomeres that protect the ends of DNA strands. The discovery could give doctors another way to diagnose malignant mesothelioma in time to implement more effective treatments. What are Telomeres? Telomeres are the caps on the end of each strand of DNA. According to Telomere Activation Sciences, telomeres function like the plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces. Like those tips, telomeres help protect chromosomes from becoming frayed and damaged. When DNA is damaged, normal cellular processes are disrupted and … Continue reading Telomere Length May Be Key to Earlier Detection of Pleural Mesothelioma »

Hundreds of Mesothelioma Deaths Predicted for Taiwan

Taiwanese cancer researchers say a total asbestos ban is “urgently needed” to help stem the tide of pleural mesothelioma cases predicted in the next 30 years. While the incidence of malignant mesothelioma has finally begun to level off in some countries, its incidence worldwide continues to grow. Taiwan is just one example of a country where mesothelioma rates, as well as the rates of other asbestos-related diseases (ARDs), are expected to keep climbing for at least another couple of years. Even after 2020, the authors of a new mesothelioma study say the disease will continue to be a problem for decades, highlighting the need for Taiwan to implement a total asbestos ban and devote more resources to mesothelioma screening, diagnosis, … Continue reading Hundreds of Mesothelioma Deaths Predicted for Taiwan »

Lung Fluid Tests May Lead to Earlier Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Using the free-floating cancer cells present in lung-fluid to diagnose malignant mesothelioma may lead to earlier detection and better outcomes. That is the conclusion of cancer researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital. The team’s goal was to evaluate the established criteria for cytopathological diagnosis of mesothelioma, i.e. diagnosis using cells found in fluid (effusions) instead of cells from a tissue biopsy. In a newly published article in the Archives of Pathological and Laboratory Medicine, the researchers observe, “Despite the difficulties in recognizing malignant cells present in those early effusions, they are often the first available biologic material for diagnosis.” Diagnosing Pleural  Mesothelioma Malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare but fast-growing cancer associated with asbestos exposure, is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Diagnosis … Continue reading Lung Fluid Tests May Lead to Earlier Mesothelioma Diagnosis »

Penn Surgeons “Light Up” Tumors to Boost Mesothelioma Survival

University of Pennsylvania surgeons are experimenting with a new technology that could vastly improve survival for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma by ensuring that more of their cancer can be  removed. Complete resection of mesothelioma tumors can be the difference between life and death; even a few cancer cells left behind can quickly grow into new tumors. But macroscopic complete resection, as it is called, is not easy. Not only are mesothelioma tumors irregularly-shaped and located close to critical organs like the lungs and heart, but surgeons say it is often hard to distinguish tiny metastatic tumors from inflammation or scar tissue. In addition, traditional scanning techniques like PET can’t usually show nodules smaller than a centimeter and can’t distinguish … Continue reading Penn Surgeons “Light Up” Tumors to Boost Mesothelioma Survival »

Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case Highlights Importance of Genetic Testing

The case of a peritoneal mesothelioma patient who was diagnosed at just 45-years-old is drawing attention to the role of genetics in this aggressive asbestos-linked malignancy. Sometimes referred to as “asbestos cancer”, malignant mesothelioma is almost always connected with known exposure to the fibrous mineral—often in a work environment. But even though most mesothelioma cases can be traced back to asbestos, not all asbestos-exposed people go on to develop malignant mesothelioma. Because of this, scientists began to believe that, in mesothelioma as in so many other types of cancer, there were likely other factors at play. Early Mesothelioma, Genes, and Asbestos Exposure In most cases, mesothelioma takes decades to develop, meaning that most patients are not diagnosed with mesothelioma until they … Continue reading Peritoneal Mesothelioma Case Highlights Importance of Genetic Testing »

New Study: Asbestos May Drive Mesothelioma Progression

A new study suggests that asbestos, the primary trigger for almost all cases of malignant mesothelioma, may do more than cause the disease—it may also play a role in how quickly it grows and spreads. Malignant mesothelioma is typically a disease of old age. Once inhaled or swallowed, it can take decades for asbestos fibers to work their way into tissues and wreak havoc with the DNA of mesothelial cells. But the new joint Italian/American study suggests that that time may be significantly shortened in cases of heavy exposure. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina and the National Tumor Institute in Milan  have found that the younger a person is at the time of their mesothelioma diagnosis, the … Continue reading New Study: Asbestos May Drive Mesothelioma Progression »

Mesothelioma Diagnosis: Lung Fluid Testing Has its Limits

mesothelioma diagnosis

Lung fluid tests for malignant mesothelioma are accurate less than half the time according to cancer researchers at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Hospital. The production of excess lung fluid (pleural effusions) is a common side effect of mesothelioma, as well as a number of other malignant and non-malignant conditions. In mesothelioma patients, this buildup of fluid often leads to breathlessness and chest pain. Because this fluid can contain cells from a growing tumor, doctors have used lung fluid testing, also known as cytologic analysis, to identify certain types of cancer, including pleural mesothelioma. But a new study published in the Internal Medicine Journal suggests that, especially with mesothelioma, lung fluid testing is only moderately effective and must be combined with other … Continue reading Mesothelioma Diagnosis: Lung Fluid Testing Has its Limits »

Surgery-Related Inflammation and Mesothelioma Outcomes

A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania say they have come up with better way to measure the effects of surgery-related inflammation on subsequent mesothelioma therapies. Their results could help other scientists predict the effectiveness of new and existing adjuvant mesothelioma treatments. Combination Therapy for Mesothelioma Because malignant mesothelioma is so difficult to treat, most patients are treated with a combination of different therapies.   While not all patients are candidates for surgery, a number of studies have suggested that mesothelioma patients who do have surgery as one of their treatments tend to live longer than those who only have other types of treatments. The challenge is that surgery itself can be so disruptive to the body that … Continue reading Surgery-Related Inflammation and Mesothelioma Outcomes »

CT Discovery May Lead to Earlier Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Detecting Mesothelioma with New CT Algorithm

Researchers in Western Australia believe they may have found a way to overcome one of the biggest challenges in the management of malignant pleural mesothelioma—making the diagnosis earlier. Malignant mesothelioma is a fast-growing cancer that starts on the membrane, or pleura, that surrounds the lungs. Because the seeds for this disease can exist for decades before symptoms develop, and because the early symptoms of mesothelioma tend to be vague and similar to those of other conditions, the so-called “asbestos cancer” often goes undetected until it is in an advanced stage. As a result, the survivability of this disease is typically very low. But scientists at the University of Western Australia in Perth say there may be a simple way to … Continue reading CT Discovery May Lead to Earlier Mesothelioma Diagnosis »

New Pill Could Make Mesothelioma Diagnosis Easier, More Accurate

A pill that makes cancer cells glow under infrared light may have the capacity to improve the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma. So far, the pill, being developed by researchers at the University of MIchigan with funding from the NIH, has only been tested on breast cancer tumors in mice. But it was so effective at exposing hidden clusters of cancer cells, that the research team expects it to be useful in the diagnosis of other cancers, too. That could eventually include mesothelioma. The Urgent Need for Earlier Mesothelioma Diagnosis Mesothelioma, a fast-growing cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is diagnosed in about 2,500 new patients in the US each year. About 2,000 of them have pleural mesothelioma, the most common type. … Continue reading New Pill Could Make Mesothelioma Diagnosis Easier, More Accurate »

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