Various blood tests can now be used to identify substances that may be present in blood and which tend to point to mesothelioma development. While the presence of biomarkers does not always indicate a diagnosis of mesothelioma, they may provide critical information which may be used in the diagnosis process. For example, the details obtained from biomarkers can demonstrate if a biopsy is needed or not. Biomarker tests may also be referred to as ‘essays’ and they include the following:3
This mesothelioma biomarker looks for a substance known as mesothelin, which is a glycoprotein consisting of sugar and protein molecule. Mesothelin tends to be produced in excess within mesothelioma cells. The essay tests for what are known as soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRPs) – these are substances formed when mesothelin dissolves in blood.6
This is a byproduct of mesothelin and it’s a protein fragment which can dissolve in bloodstream. In early tests for mesothelioma, this essay or biomarker has shown a 95-percent sensitivity. This makes it one of the highly accurate blood tests when it comes to diagnosis of mesothelioma, but if the results are confirmed.
This is another glycoprotein which is released in high amounts within mesothelioma cells. The problem with this essay is that it is less accurate in diagnosing mesothelioma because it is also released by other cancer cells in addition to ischemic stroke and kidney stones.
Like mesothelin, Fibulin-3 tends to be released in higher amounts within mesothelioma cells. Although existing research indicates that there are irregularities in the results, something that questions the accuracy of this test, it can be said that Fibulin-3 essays can help to distinguish between benign and malignant lung diseases and cancers.
This is a biomarker that has shown that when individuals are tested for a HMGB1 or High-Mobility Group Box Protein 1, it can help to not only detect mesothelioma but also show if an individual has had asbestos exposure even before they have developed symptoms of the disease. However, additional testing and trials are required to help confirm the results.
- Malignant mesothelioma. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2652430/?tool=pubmed
- Mesothelioma Diagnosis and Treatment. https://www.mesotheliomahelp.org/mesothelioma/diagnosis/
- Mesothelioma Diagnosis. https://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/diagnosis/
- Guidelines for Pathologic Diagnosis of Malignant Mesothelioma. http://www.archivesofpathology.org/doi/pdf/10.1043/1543-2165-133.8.1317?code=coap-site
- Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3886874/
- Soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP). https://labtestsonline.org/tests/soluble-mesothelin-related-peptides