Oncologists have a list of characteristics that suggest that a mesothelioma patient will be more or less likely to have a longer or shorter survival time. Being female, being younger, or in better health without co-morbidities at the time of diagnosis, are all indicators of a better prognosis. Now researchers from the Linyi People’s Hospital in China have determined that over expression of the PD-L1 protein can be used to predict whether a patient will succumb quickly to the disease or be able to live for a sustained period of time.
Retrospective Mesothelioma Study Shows PD-L1 Impact on Survival
While malignant mesothelioma is always considered fatal, some patients die months after their diagnosis while others enjoy five or more years with a good quality of life. Most of these longer-lived patients have either been identified as having the epithelioid subtype of the disease or female, younger, or otherwise in good health. Researchers have been trying to identify biomarkers that could also guide treatment plans.
The two Chinese scientists were aware that others in the mesothelioma research field had suspected a connection between PD-L1 expression and mesothelioma prognosis, so they conducted a search of previous studies to see whether they could extract confirming data.
Retrospective Study Confirms High PD-L1 Level As Indicator of Poor Mesothelioma Survival
PD-L1 is present in all of us in different levels. It plays an important role in protecting pregnancies and in fending off some autoimmune diseases, as it suppresses and kills off the part of the immune system that recognizes and responds to foreign tissue. Where these are positive actions, the protein also has the unfortunate effect of working against the immune system’s defense against cancer cells.
The two researchers identified almost a dozen studies that measured PD-L1 levels in mesothelioma patient tissue samples and compared survival times of those patients. Their study included data from over 1,600 patients and confirmed that PD-L1 expression was elevated in patients who had shorter survival times. This important information will be very helpful to physicians in the future, and may guide their discussions with their patients as well as their formulation of treatment plans.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, you need the most up-to-date information on the treatment of the disease. For more resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net at 1-800-692-8608.