There are many important differences between malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer, but when a patient first presents with symptoms it can be very hard to tell one from the other. This is a problem because the two diseases are very different, and time spent trying to tell exactly which disease a patient has is treatment time lost. According to a report published in the American Journal of Surgical Pathology, researchers from Hiroshima University have identified a distinguishing biomarker that has proven extremely accurate.
Lung Cancer and Epithelioid Mesothelioma Are Treated Differently
Both epithelioid mesothelioma and lung cancer are extremely serious diseases that impact the lungs. They share the initial symptoms of coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath, but they behave differently within the body and respond differently to cancer treatments. This works against efficient and effective treatment, as physicians need to be sure of their diagnosis before initiating a therapeutic protocol.
Previously, the steps required to determine whether a patient has mesothelioma or lung cancer have taken a great deal of time, during which patients’ cancers have continued to progress. But researchers have discovered a specific protein that is almost always present in epithelioid mesothelioma cells and very infrequently present in lung cancer cells.
SOX6 Protein A Constant Presence in Epithelioid Mesothelioma
The Hiroshima University researchers’ discovery revolved around a science called immunohistochemistry, which identifies the components of cells through chemical staining. In analyzing epithelioid mesothelioma cells, the scientists found that a DNA-binding protein called SOX6 was present in the cancer cells of 98% of epithelioid mesothelioma patients but in only 7% of the cells of lung cancer patients.
Writing of his group’s findings, lead author Takahiro Kambara concluded, “SOX6 is a novel candidate immunohistochemical marker for differentiating epithelioid mesothelioma from lung adenocarcinoma.”
Malignant mesothelioma requires quick diagnosis, effective treatment, and more. If you need information or resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.