A new set of biomarkers to diagnose mesothelioma has been identified by researchers in Italy.
Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. It takes decades for symptoms to appear after being around asbestos. It is also a deadly cancer with an average survival time of 13 months.
Diagnosing mesothelioma as early as possible is critical to successful treatment. Doctors diagnose mesothelioma with a few different procedures. They might perform a scan on a patient first. This is usually an x-ray or a CT scan.
Once they find a potential cancer site, the doctor needs to remove part of the tissue to take a closer look. The doctor will perform a biopsy to get the sample. This usually involves an invasive surgery.
Some researchers are looking at whether fluids could be used to diagnose mesothelioma instead of tissue. Fluids are easier to remove from the body than tissue. This could help patients who are too sick for surgical procedures. It could also lead to faster diagnosis, which would help with treatment outcomes.
Circulating Biomarkers Used for Diagnosis
This study looked at “circulating biomarkers.” These are biomarkers that are found in body fluids like plasma. The researchers explored whether these circulating biomarkers could be used to diagnose mesothelioma.
The study looked at mesothelioma patients from a hospital in Italy between 2013 and 2016. The researchers studied blood samples from these patients before they received treatment.
Three biomarkers called Mesothelin, Fibulin-3, and HMGB1 were the most reliable biomarkers found in plasma.
Mesothelin is created by cells that line organs and body cavities. Fibulin-3 is a molecule that promotes tumor growth. HMGB1 is a protein that is released when cells are damaged by cancer. It is produced by mesothelioma cells.
This study found that patients with mesothelioma had higher than normal levels of these biomarkers in their plasma.
This is a promising study and will hopefully inspire more research into non-invasive methods to diagnose mesothelioma.
Ferrari L, Iodice S, Cantone L, et al. Identification of a new potential plasmatic biomarker panel for the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Med Lav. 2022;113(6):e2022052. Published 2022 Dec 7. doi:10.23749/mdl.v113i6.13522. https://www.mattioli1885journals.com/index.php/lamedicinadellavoro/article/view/13522/11092