New Potential Blood Biomarker for Pleural Mesothelioma

New Potential Blood Biomarker for Pleural Mesothelioma

A team of researchers just published a study looking at whether a gene called FGF18 can be used as a biomarker for pleural mesothelioma.

The study was published in the journal Thoracic Cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the body’s internal organs. When it grows in the lining of the lungs, it is called pleural mesothelioma.

Signs and symptoms may include shortness of breath due to fluid around the lung, chest pain, cough, and fatigue. This cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Conventional treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, and. The median survival with conventional treatment is little more than a year.

FGF18’s Viability as a Biomarker for Pleural Mesothelioma

Some research has shown that a gene called FGF18 is more active in pleural mesothelioma tumors than in normal tissue. The researchers in this study wanted to find out if FGF18 could be used as a biomarker in the blood.

Clinicians have been experimenting with different mesothelioma blood tests for many years. Blood tests are an easy and non-invasive way to test if a patient has mesothelioma. So far, no mesothelioma blood test has been accepted as a standard part of care.

For this study, the researchers used different methods to study FGF18. They looked at its activity in cell lines and in data from cancer patients. They created cell lines that produced more FGF18 and watched how the cells behaved. They also collected blood samples from pleural mesothelioma patients to measure the amount of FGF18 in the blood.

The results showed that FGF18 was very active in pleural mesothelioma cells. In the data from cancer patients, those with high levels of FGF18 seemed to have slightly better survival rates.

Surprisingly, the protein form of FGF18 in the blood was lower in pleural mesothelioma patients compared to healthy patients. The levels of FGF18 in the blood did not seem to be linked to survival or other disease characteristics.

The researchers realized that FGF18 is not a useful biomarker to predict the outcome of pleural mesothelioma.


Mosleh B, Schelch K, Mohr T, et al. Circulating FGF18 is decreased in pleural mesothelioma but not correlated with disease prognosis [published online ahead of print, 2023 Jun 21]. Thorac Cancer. 2023;10.1111/1759-7714.15004. doi:10.1111/1759-7714.15004. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1759-7714.15004

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