A recent study conducted by Japanese researchers set out to determine whether a specific protein that is known to be present in the pleural effusions of mesothelioma patients is also present in those patients’ blood serum. The group found that chemokine CCL2 is significantly elevated in patients diagnosed with the rare form of cancer, and that the more advanced those patients’ stage of the disease, the higher the level of the protein.
Researchers Detail Role of CCL2 in Cancers
In approaching their research, the group acknowledged the process by which malignant mesothelioma develops, starting tissue exposure to asbestos fibers that initiate an oxidant coupled inflammatory response. As those fibers remain in the tissue, the inflammation starts a cycle of tissue damage and repair, which eventually develops into cancerous tumors.
The inflammation activates macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell that cleans the body of debris, but which are also a source of chemokine CCL2, which are commonly found in the pleural effusions of mesothelioma patients, as well as other types of cancer patients.
Study Included Mesothelioma Patients, Those Exposed to Asbestos, and Healthy Patients
The study included 50 patients diagnosed with mesothelioma and 356 patients who had known exposure to asbestos but no disease symptoms. It also included 41 healthy patients with no history of asbestos exposure. It found that though CCL2 levels were elevated with the age of patients overall, there was a clear elevation of the protein in the serum of patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma. The more advanced the disease’s stage, the higher the CCL2 levels. This gives researchers a specific target for future treatments.
For patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, any research that yields new knowledge is reason for hope for future innovations in treatment. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and you want information about resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.