Written By: Devin Golden

Blood Tests and Biomarkers

Blood tests and biomarkers are improving accuracy in diagnosing and treating mesothelioma. Each test has different biomarkers to detect mesothelioma or examine a therapy.’

Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Medically Reviewed By

Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Registered Nurse

Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Medically Reviewed By

Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Registered Nurse


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How Are Blood Tests Used for Mesothelioma?

Blood tests are medical procedures to test a patient’s blood for abnormalities, such as high levels of cancerous proteins. Doctors use blood tests to detect mesothelioma. They look for biomarkers as indicators of irregularities.

The most reliable biomarkers used for mesothelioma blood tests are:

  • Soluble mesothelin related peptides (SMRPs)
  • Cancer Antigen 125 (CA125)
  • Fibulin-3
  • Osteopontin

Why to Use Blood Tests for Mesothelioma

A mesothelioma diagnosis often requires multiple imaging tests and finishes with a biopsy. Blood tests are not accurate in diagnosing mesothelioma, but many doctors still rely on them for numerous reasons:

  • Gaining more evidence of mesothelioma’s presence
  • Learning more about the disease, such as prognosis
  • Determining if the disease is responding to mesothelioma treatment

Promising Blood Tests and Biomarkers

Blood tests look for certain biomarkers, usually an amino acid chain or protein, with abnormal levels in people with mesothelioma. Experts refer to these proteins as mesothelioma biomarkers.

While there are a variety of mesothelioma blood tests and biomarkers, four have shown the greatest reliability.

SMRPs (Mesomark test)

Mesomark is an FDA-approved test measuring the amount of SMRPs (a compound of amino acids) in a patient’s blood. Patients with mesothelioma usually have a higher amount of SMRPs in their bloodstream:

  • A study showed that pleural mesothelioma patients have a 52% increase in SMRP levels.
  • Another study revealed an 84% accuracy rate in discovering high SMRP levels in people with mesothelioma.

Doctors perform the Mesomark test following diagnosis, too. They use this test to analyze SMRP levels after chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy sessions. If the SMRP levels decrease, then the treatment is working.


CA125, a glycoprotein biomarker, is often abnormally present in malignant mesothelioma. Antigens usually provide an immune response by activating the production of antibodies. In patients with ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, CA125 is found in higher concentrations.

One study found a relationship between CA125 levels, chemotherapy and overall survival. Researchers noticed a trend in improved survival when CA125 levels decreased after chemotherapy.


Fibulin-3, an extracellular glycoprotein, regulates cell proliferation and movement. In one study of 465 malignant pleural mesothelioma cases, Fibulin-3 levels were higher in 62% of cases.

Dr. Harvey Pass is at the forefront of this research for this possible early-detection protein. Dr. Pass and his team found that fibulin-3 levels had a 96.7% reliability in detecting pleural mesothelioma.


Osteopontin, a naturally occuring glycoprotein, manages immune response and cell movement. Mesothelioma doctors examine the plasma levels in osteopontin.

In a study of 360 malignant pleural mesothelioma cases, osteopontin had 65% reliability as a biomarker.
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Get an Accurate Diagnosis

Mesothelioma blood tests and biomarkers could lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses. This medical evolution could lead to more mesothelioma survivors and more remissions, as this cancer is easier to treat in earlier stages.

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed, a blood test could provide peace of mind. It could also lead you to a life-saving treatment protocol.

Find a mesothelioma specialist with our free Doctor Match program. With a credible specialist, patients will have access to blood tests, biomarker stats and other modern diagnostic tools.

Sources & Author

Devin Golden

About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is a content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.