New research suggests there may be a less invasive way to accurately diagnose malignant pleural mesothelioma. Right now, the gold standard for mesothelioma diagnosis is examination of suspected tumor cells under a microscope. To get those cells, doctors have to perform either an open surgery called thoracotomy or a less invasive operation called thoracoscopy using smaller incisions and a camera for guidance. But biomedical engineers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh say analyzing cells in the fluid around the lungs may be just as effective. Unlike diagnostic methods that use tissue samples, the pleural fluid method requires only a thoracentesis, or removal of a sample of lung fluid using a needle. To maximize the diagnostic power of fluid samples, the … Continue reading A Better Way to Diagnose Mesothelioma?
Open surgical biopsy – called thoracotomy – appears to be the best way to get an accurate diagnosis of mesothelioma subtype. Mesothelioma is a fast-growing malignancy caused by asbestos exposure. Epithelial mesothelioma is the most common subtype, followed by sarcomatoid and biphasic. Determining which subtype a patient has is an important prognostic indicator and can help guide doctors in making treatment decisions. But mesothelioma itself is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and determining subtype can be equally tricky. To help determine the most accurate diagnostic method, a group of Australian scientists evaluated the records of 83 patients who underwent a surgical procedure called extrapleural pneumonectomy (EPP) for mesothelioma between 1994 and 2009. A panel of pathologists reviewed the specimens collected during EPP and … Continue reading Open Biopsy Better for Diagnosing Mesothelioma Subtype