The use of blood tests and biomarkers is leading to more accurate diagnoses and treatment for mesothelioma patients.
The Purpose of Additional Diagnostic Methods
Imaging tests and biopsies are generally all that is required to confidently diagnose mesothelioma. However, blood tests and biomarkers can reveal details about a patient’s mesothelioma that can’t be determined through other diagnostic methods. For this reason, blood tests for mesothelioma are being studied and used more commonly.
While imaging and biopsy tests are the primary means of diagnosing mesothelioma, blood tests and biomarkers can provide additional evidence of the presence of mesothelioma.
Development of Blood Tests
Blood tests aren’t as prominent as other diagnostic methods because blood tests are still being developed and perfected. However, several, like Mesomark, have shown promising results.
One reason why doctors may run a blood test on a patient is to provide a more accurate prognosis. The results from blood tests essentially provide more information about how advanced a patient’s mesothelioma may be.
Promising Blood Tests and Biomarkers
Blood tests are significant because studies have shown that certain biomarkers, usually an amino acid chain or protein, are elevated in people with mesothelioma compared to healthy individuals. While there are a variety of blood tests for diagnosing mesothelioma, the 3 tests listed below have shown greater success in assisting a mesothelioma diagnosis.
Mesomark is an FDA-approved test measuring the amount of soluble mesothelin related peptides (a compound of amino acids) in a patient’s blood. Patients with mesothelioma have a higher amount of the SMRPs in their bloodstream.
A study from the founders of Mesomark shows pleural mesothelioma patients have a 52 percent increase in SMRP levels over healthy patients. It is only used in patients who already know they have mesothelioma with an epithelioid cellular makeup.
Another study done in England showed an 84 percent accuracy rate in discovering the high SMRPs levels in patients. However, this test has fallen short in diagnosing mesothelioma early.
Cancer Antigen 125 (CA125) is a biomarker present in malignant epithelioid mesothelioma. It is measured from blood or fluid taken from the lungs. High levels of CA125 indicate the presence of mesothelioma. CA125 is a naturally occurring antigen, but its purpose is not yet fully understood.
In general, antigens usually serve as an immune response by activating the production of antibodies. In patients with ovarian cancer and mesothelioma, this antigen is found in higher concentrations. One promising study by physicians in Turkey found when patients were given chemotherapy, levels of CA125 returned to normal levels.
Although it is still in the early testing stages, this promising new biomarker could serve as an early warning in patients with mesothelioma. Fibulin-3 is a protein found in plasma which indicates if a patient has mesothelioma. This plasma is found in blood and in fluid extracted from the lungs.
Dr. Harvey Pass is at the forefront of this research for this possible early-detection protein. Dr. Pass and his team found a 96.7% success rate of determining the presence of fibulin-3 presence in patients with mesothelioma. Researchers are now looking into the possibility of fibulin levels prolonging survival or making a difference in mortality rates.
Get an Accurate Diagnosis
Blood tests and biomarkers could lead to earlier and more accurate mesothelioma diagnoses in the future. This would mean the potential of more survivors and more remissions as mesothelioma is easier to treat in its earlier stages. If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma, or have had questionable imaging tests, a blood test could provide peace of mind.
Find a mesothelioma specialist with our free Doctor Match program. With a credible mesothelioma specialist, patients will have access to the most up-to-date diagnosis tools and top treatment options.