New Blood Test May Detect Mesothelioma Years Before Symptoms Arise

It was developed in China and still a long way from being perfected, but a team of researchers say that they’ve developed a simple and quick blood test that can identify cancers like malignant mesothelioma years before patients begin to show symptoms. Early tests have confirmed that the tool – called PanSeer – correctly diagnosed 95% of patients who had not experienced any symptoms and whose positive results were later confirmed.

Test Could Provide A Four-Year Head Start for Mesothelioma Patients

One of the greatest challenges of treating malignant mesothelioma is its long latency period – even patients who are aware that they have been exposed to asbestos have to wait decades for it to begin to manifesting symptoms, even though the tumors are already taking hold in their bodies. The new PanSeer test has the potential to eliminate that problem.

Though its developers have not yet tested it on malignant mesothelioma, they confirm that PanSeer worked on other tumors. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, they indicate, “We demonstrated that five types of cancer can be detected through a DNA methylation-based blood test up to four years before conventional diagnosis,” 

PanSeer is Latest Liquid Biopsy That May Someday Diagnose Mesothelioma Early

Finding an accurate and effective way to diagnose malignant mesothelioma early has long been on the wish list for patients at risk for the rare, asbestos-related cancer, as well as for those physicians who specialize in its treatment. This particular test screens DNA found in patients’ blood plasma for methyl groups that tend to form in the DNA of tumors. The test is sensitive enough to identify minute quantities of this specific DNA and then uses artificial intelligence to assess whether it actually comes from tumors. 

In developing the test, hundreds of samples were analyzed, including from participants who remained free of cancer at least five years after having their blood analyzed, those who were diagnosed with liver, lung, esophageal, stomach or colorectal cancer within four years of their blood being drawn, and patients previously diagnosed with one of those five cancers. Some of these samples were used to train the AI system and others to test it. The results of the study showed that PanSeer correctly identified cancer in 88% of those who have previously been diagnosed and in 95% of those who later went on to be diagnosed. It also scored well, with 96% accuracy, at correctly identifying those without cancer.

Having the ability to detect malignant mesothelioma early would make a significant difference in patient quality of life and treatment. For information on the resources that are currently available to help those with the disease, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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