If you’ve been told you have malignant mesothelioma, you likely went through a challenging diagnostic process that left you uncertain and scared for what seemed like ages. That is because there are no fast and easy tools that can definitively confirm the presence of the rare and deadly disease. Researchers across the world are working to find a better way that avoids the endless scans, biopsies and waiting periods that those at risk are subjected to, and now a group from Japan believes that they may have identified one.
Similarities to Other Cancers Makes Mesothelioma Difficult to Diagnose
When a person is suspected of having malignant mesothelioma, it is essential that the right treatments be initiated as quickly as possible in order to prolong survival. Unfortunately, the process of confirming the rare form of cancer requires many steps, in part because it shares many histological traits with other malignancies. Now a group of researchers from Fukushima Medical University in Fukushima, Japan believe they have identified a novel mesothelial biomarker that can diagnose the disease quickly and accurately.
Claudins are families of proteins that are found in the epithelial cells of organs, and the mesothelium – the organ impacted by mesothelioma – is made up of epithelial cells. The group determined that of 25 different claudins that they examined, claudin-15 is expressed in mesothelial cells. The scientists then created antibodies to react to claudin-15 to see whether they were present in high numbers in malignant mesothelioma tissue. They found that among 42 samples, 83% were positive for claudin-15
High Ratio of Claudin-15 Makes it an Effective Biomarker for Mesothelioma
Not only did the researchers find that the claudin-15 test provided positive results equal to or better than those of other positive markers currently in use for malignant pleural mesothelioma, they also found that it effectively provided negative results for non-mesothelioma cells. They concluded that claudin-15 can be used effectively in the clinical setting as a positive marker for the rare, asbestos-related disease.
If you or someone you love is at risk for malignant mesothelioma and you would like information about the diagnostic process, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.