Tag Archives: biomarker

Protein Biomarkers in Mesothelioma Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment

Three separate teams of international researchers have confirmed that proteins found in the blood can reveal some vital information for the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of pleural mesothelioma. These new studies on mesothelioma biomarkers indicate that all three of the studied proteins have value, but for different reasons. The most recent study comes from researchers in the Czech Republic who found that serum mesothelin, a protein overexpressed in several types of cancer, is valuable to measure the severity of mesothelioma in people who have already been diagnosed, but is unlikely to help doctors find the disease earlier. Doctors in the Department of Respiratory Medicine in Palacky University Olomouc followed 239 asbestos-exposed workers for nearly 20 years. They found that mesothelin … Continue reading Protein Biomarkers in Mesothelioma Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment »

Biomarker May Predict Chemotherapy Response in Mesothelioma

Cancer researchers in Japan say they may have found a way to help predict which mesothelioma patients are most likely to respond well to treatment with Alimta. Alimta (pemetrexed) was FDA approved in 2004 for the treatment of mesothelioma, a virulent form of lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Alimta is often administered along with the platinum-based drug cisplatin, although this first-line mesothelioma treatment combination has been shown to have only limited success. Part of the problem is that it is difficult to predict which mesothelioma patients will respond to which types of therapies. Mesothelioma treatment, therefore, often involves a process of trial and error to find the therapy that works best. Unfortunately, this approach can cost patients valuable time … Continue reading Biomarker May Predict Chemotherapy Response in Mesothelioma »

Mesothelioma Blood Test May Save Lives through Earlier Diagnosis

There is new evidence that a blood test for a biomarker called N-ERC/mesothelin could help identify mesothelioma earlier and improve outcomes in people at risk for the disease. Cancer researchers with Juntendo University in Tokyo released a study in 2008 suggesting that N-ERC/mesothelin, a soluble protein released by certain kinds of cancer cells, was “a very promising tumor marker for mesothelioma, especially epithelioid mesothelioma”. In their newest study, the same group attempted to test the value of the biomarker as a warning tool for closer monitoring in populations at high mesothelioma risk. The new study included construction workers who were part of a large-scale, 5-year screening of people known to be exposed to asbestos, the primary cause of mesothelioma. The … Continue reading Mesothelioma Blood Test May Save Lives through Earlier Diagnosis »

Sharp Rise in Mesothelin May Signal Mesothelioma

Another study has confirmed that the biomarker mesothelin may be a valuable warning sign ofmesothelioma in asbestos-exposed workers. In fact, it may rise sharply in the months preceding the onset of symptoms. Medical researchers have long known that exposure to the mineral asbestos dramatically increases the risk of developing malignant pleural mesothelioma. But doctors have struggled to find a way to identify which asbestos-exposed people are at highest risk. It is a significant problem because, as the authors of a new German study on the subject observe, “In patients developing malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) or lung cancer, using effective tumour markers is the quickest way to ensure early diagnosis and improve survival time.” But which biomarkers to focus on and how … Continue reading Sharp Rise in Mesothelin May Signal Mesothelioma »

Biomarker Test Next Step for New Mesothelioma Drug

A company that makes stem cell-focused treatments for cancer has taken an important step closer to testing a promising new mesothelioma drug. The biopharmaceutical company Verastem, Inc. specializes in agents that destroy cancer by killing cancer stem cells. One of its lead medicines is VS-6063, a focal adhesion kinase inhibitor scheduled to be the subject of a mesothelioma study later this year. In a Phase I safety study of 36 patients conducted by Pfizer (original developers of VS-6063), the drug was “well-tolerated” and showed enough efficacy to warrant further, larger studies. A focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor is an agent that regulates the growth and spread of tumor cells by inhibited a crucial signaling pathway. In preclinical cancer models, when this … Continue reading Biomarker Test Next Step for New Mesothelioma Drug »

Mesothelioma Diagnosis: SMRP Not the Answer

Soluble mesothelin-related protein (SMRP), a protein found in the blood serum of some people, may not be as effective a biomarker for mesothelioma as it was once thought to be. Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer of the internal membranes that surround the lungs, abdominal organs or heart. It is most often triggered by exposure to asbestos and is difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Biomarkers, like SMRP, are often used to try to make cancer diagnoses earlier since these compounds are often produced in larger quantities by cancer cells than by healthy cells. But in a report in Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, a team of researchers suggests that SMRP has some significant limitations when it comes to detecting mesothelioma. The … Continue reading Mesothelioma Diagnosis: SMRP Not the Answer »

Australian Study Reveals New Mesothelioma Biomarker

A large multi-center Australian study has revealed what researchers say could be an important new biomarker for malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a virulent cancer of internal body membranes usually caused by exposure to asbestos. As with other cancers, mesothelioma cells produce certain compounds at higher levels than healthy cells do. Micro RNAs, or miRNAs, are short chains of ribonucleic acid, some of which are produced in abundance by cancer cells. Using miRNA microarrays, the Australian researchers profiled plasma samples from patients with malignant mesothelioma and from healthy controls. After reviewing 90 miRNAs previously associated with mesothelioma, they found two – miR-29c and miR-92a – in particularly high amounts. Further testing found a total of 15 novel miRNAs in the plasma of … Continue reading Australian Study Reveals New Mesothelioma Biomarker »

New Blood Test May Help Diagnose Mesothelioma Earlier

cancer biomarker test

Investigators in California are evaluating new technology that could eventually help diagnose mesothelioma with a simple blood test. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.  It strikes about 2,500 people in the U.S. each year.  But its rarity – and its tendency to mimic other lung-related diseases – can make mesothelioma hard to diagnose.  In recent years, some mesothelioma centers have begun evaluating the DNA composition of suspected mesothelioma cells using a test called a DNA array. Now, a group of researchers in California reports that a different type of evaluation – one that looks for abnormal sugars (glycans) in blood serum – may offer another diagnostic option for mesothelioma.  Anti-glycan antibodies are produced by the immune system … Continue reading New Blood Test May Help Diagnose Mesothelioma Earlier »

New Mesothelioma Biomarker May Also Improve Treatment

A study conducted by a group of San Francisco researchers suggests that a new biomarker may help make chemotherapy drugs more effective for mesothelioma patients. A biomarker is a substance present in tumor cells that can help doctors identify cancer.  Biomarkers are especially important in mesothelioma, a virulent cancer of the mesothelium, because it can be so difficult to diagnose.  Now, medical researchers at the University of California who have been studying melanoma cell adhesion molecule (MCAM) have found it to be an even more precise biomarker than mesothelin, the most common biomarker used to diagnose mesothelioma. MCAM is already being used to help identify other types of cancer including ovarian cancer and certain skin cancers. Unlike mesothelin, which is present in … Continue reading New Mesothelioma Biomarker May Also Improve Treatment »