Despite the best efforts of researchers, malignant mesothelioma remains one of the most challenging forms of cancer to treat. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that the illness is so rare — the fewer patients there are, the less opportunity researchers have to study it and test responses. Another difficult aspect is that patients’ mesothelioma is usually advanced by the time it is identified. That is why researchers are trying to find the best ways to diagnose it early. A recent study of all available tests has confirmed that the best biomarker for pleural mesothelioma remains a protein called SMRP that is found in the blood.
Review Confirms Use of SMRPs in Diagnosing Mesothelioma
SMRP stands for Soluble Mesothelin-Related Proteins, a type of protein that has been used for years as part of mesothelioma diagnosis. Though other biomarkers found in lung fluid, tissue, and even mesothelioma patients’ breath have also been identified in the last twenty years, a review conducted by Dr. Harvey Pass of New York University’s Langone Medical Center and Dr. Michele Carbone of the University of Hawaii has concluded that SMRP remains the most accurate and most accessible thing to test for.
Writing in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the two researchers describe their analysis of all existing research on biomarkers for malignant mesothelioma. They point to MesoMark, an FDA-approved assay test for SMRPs in the blood, and concluded that though “it is disappointing that only one remains as a validated blood-based test for the disease in North America, Europe, and Australia… MesoMark has stood the test of time as the only validatable markers.”
Researchers Note Need for Further Research
The researchers also expressed concern over the apparent lack of enthusiasm for identifying more accurate tests for mesothelioma, writing, “As opposed to lung cancer, enthusiasm of industry support for malignant pleural mesothelioma biomarker development and their validation is lacking, possibly due to a smaller market, and due to the incorrect assumption that the disease will simply disappear. There will be a continued need for the accurate diagnosis and early detection of the disease.”
As research into testing and treatment for malignant mesothelioma continue, patients continue to need support. For information on how the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help you, contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.