Pleural Mesothelioma is predominantly diagnosed when the disease is advanced – through either unrelated medical procedures or symptoms related to chest pain and breathing problems.
Regular testing for the asbestos-related disease pleural mesothelioma consists of the detection of cancer cells present in fluid surrounding a patients lungs. However – the procedure known as ‘cytology’ is considered to be a sensitive test which could confuse mesothelioma cancer with other types.
But a new scientific study carried out by Dr. H. Davies and funded by the British Lung Foundation, and Medical Research Council is hopeful that a new test will prove more conclusive.
The new test detects ‘mesothelin’ which is a protein produced by cancerous mesothelioma cells and released into the fluid around the lungs.
In their first experiment they collected pleural fluid samples from 167 patients with suspected pleural effusion and potential malignancy. Participants were selected from a high background risk of developing mesothelioma, i.e. with a risk factor of 24/167 (around fourteen percent).
The scientists studied 429 samples of pleural fluid samples in total and concluded that mesothelin levels were six times higher in patients with mesothelioma compared to those with metastatic cancers, and 10 times higher than those with benign tumours.
Researchers suggest that this test could prove very valuable especially when used alongside regular cytology methods and overall – could offer a more conclusive diagnosis of mesothelioma.