A new test which can measure the amount of the protein ‘mesothelin’ in fluid surrounding the lungs – has proved to be a more sensitive indicator of cancer than the conventional use of cytology.
The clinical trial was conducted by a team at Oxford University where researchers concentrated on methods of distinguishing the connection between fluid build-up in the pleural cavity and mesothelioma. The study was carried out on participants with a 14% risk of developing mesothelioma, and the results were promising as they concluded that mesothelin levels were 6.6 times higher in participants with mesothelioma compared to patients with metastatic cancers, and 10.9 times higher than those with benign disease. The test combined with cytology (examination of cancerous cells), could minimise the need for more invasive procedures as well as speed up appropriate treatment such as surgery and chemotherapy.
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