Diagnosing mesothelioma is complicated, but new technologies are making it easier and more accurate. Legal teams currently use the miRview test for mesothelioma, made by Rosetta Genomics, to prove or disprove a patient has mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. The test may be useful in getting more patients timely, accurate diagnoses.
The Difficulty of Diagnosing Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose for a number of reasons:
- A patient may go to the doctor for symptoms that mimic many less serious conditions or even other types of lung cancer.
- Because mesothelioma is rare, it is not often considered a possible diagnosis until other conditions have been ruled out.
- Even using diagnostic techniques to image the chest and lungs can be faulty. Finding abnormal tissue or fluid in the lungs or pleura is not indicative of mesothelioma. Tumors and abnormalities don’t necessarily show up as obvious mesothelioma on CT scans or MRIs.
- Biopsies used to examine suspicious cells under a microscope can also be misinterpreted. It is difficult to distinguish between cancer cells from the mesothelium and those from other parts of the body.
The miRview Meso Test
One of the difficulties in diagnosing mesothelioma is distinguishing it from other cancers. Even when tests show a patient has cancer in or around the lungs, it is not easy to determine if that cancer started in the mesothelium or is one of several subtypes of lung cancer.
Rosetta Genomics developed a biomarker test that can make that process easier and more accurate. The miRview test uses microRNA (miRNA) biomarkers, molecules that indicate the presence of a certain disease, to determine the origin of cancer cells in the body accurately.
The test is relatively new, but it has shown it can identify the likely primary origin of cancer cells. The miRview meso test is specific to mesothelioma and can distinguish between cancer cells caused by mesothelioma and those caused by a type of lung cancer.
The test’s sensitivity is 100%, while the specificity is 94%, better accuracy than any other test for mesothelioma. The test only requires that a doctor perform a biopsy to get a sample of tissue. Usually, a needle biopsy is sufficient. The sample can then be tested with the miRview meso test to get results.
Are There Blood Tests for Mesothelioma?
Yes, there are blood tests for mesothelioma, but they do not provide definitive diagnoses. Blood tests, similar to miRview, look for markers characteristic of mesothelioma and other cancers. No single blood test can confirm mesothelioma. There are no markers seen only in mesothelioma.
The miRview test adds to the list of diagnostic tools for identifying mesothelioma. It might prove to be more accurate and useful than other tests, but it is currently one piece of a bigger diagnostic puzzle.
The Importance of Early Diagnosis
Tests like miRview for mesothelioma are important because they lead to earlier diagnosis. Mesothelioma is most often diagnosed in its later stages when treatment options are limited and the prognosis is poor.
Symptoms of mesothelioma are so similar to more common illnesses, that doctors don’t often consider it as a diagnosis until later. A test like miRview can more quickly inform doctors of the possibility that a patient has mesothelioma.
Better tests help doctors distinguish between very similar cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer that require different treatment approaches. When patients get mesothelioma-specific treatments earlier, they have a better chance of extending life expectancy or even going into remission.
miRview Meso in Asbestos Lawsuits
The miRview meso test is fairly new. It has so far primarily been used in legal cases in which former employees are suing their employer over asbestos exposure that may have caused mesothelioma.
These cases have been complicated because it is so difficult to distinguish between mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure and lung cancer from other causes. If a simple test can confirm or deny asbestos-caused mesothelioma, it can result in fairer outcomes in lawsuits.
About Rosetta Genomics
The miRview tests, including miRview meso, were developed by a company called Rosetta Genomics. It has focused on miRNA technology, using biomarkers first discovered in the 1990s.
It took years to discover that they could be used as biomarkers for disease. Rosetta found hundreds of unique segments of miRNA that can be used to diagnose several different types of cancer. The company pioneered the technology needed to extract miRNA without losing significant amounts from even a small sample.
The potential for miRNA tests to provide more accurate and earlier cancer diagnoses is enormous. For people with aggressive and difficult cancers like mesothelioma, this test could be a lifesaver.
Rosetta filed for bankruptcy. Genoptix, a pathology and clinical oncology laboratory, acquired Rosetta and its technologies and made it a subsidiary in 2017.
More research is needed before miRview becomes a regular test for mesothelioma. Current clinical trials, for instance, are examining whether this test is cost-effective compared to traditional diagnostic techniques.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.