Though malignant mesothelioma is a highly unique and deadly form of cancer, it is extremely difficult to diagnose. In its earliest stages of development there are absolutely no outward symptoms that tumors are forming inside of the body, and once the tumors grow large enough to start causing patients to have symptoms, those symptoms are so similar to those of other, more benign conditions that the disease may be mistaken for something as harmless as the flu or a stomach bug. It is only when the symptoms don’t go away or respond to treatment that physicians start ordering more sophisticated testing, and all the while the cancer is growing and spreading. Even once mesothelioma testing begins, it can be difficult to distinguish from other types of tumors. Now German scientists have identified a distinguishing characteristic that they hope will leader to faster diagnosis and treatment.
Distinguishing between mesothelioma and other types of tumors
The scientists set out to determine whether the presence or absence of the BAP1 protein is a useful diagnostic tool for malignant mesothelioma. Their specific interest was in distinguishing between mesothelioma and other types of tumors known as benign adenomatoid tumors that can also grown on mesotheliomal membranes. These benign tumor’s cells look very much like mesothelioma cells. But writing in the journal Applied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology, pathologists from several German research institutes discovered that tumor cells of patients confirmed to have mesothelioma also tested positive for BAP1 loss, while those whose tumors were confirmed to be adenamotid were negative for BAP1 loss. BAP1 loss is a genetic condition found in individuals who are missing the BAP1 gene or who have a genetic error in the gene. Those individuals do not produce the protein, and are more vulnerable to certain types of malignancies, including mesothelioma if they have been exposed to asbestos.
BAP1 Loss proven to be accurate diagnostic tool
Based on the scientists’ findings, by testing tumors suspected of being malignant mesothelioma for the presence of the BAP1 protein, they can more quickly and accurately diagnosed the disease, and therefore begin treatment much more quickly. Their report concludes that, “Surface components of malignant mesothelioma of the pleura showed concordant loss as the invasive tumor suggesting a potential role for BAP1 loss for recognizing so-called early mesothelioma.”
If you have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, getting treatment quickly is one of the keys to longer survival. For information about resources that are available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.