miRview Test for Mesothelioma
Diagnosing mesothelioma accurately is problematic. Even using multiple standard diagnostic procedures, like biopsies and imaging scans, a patient may still be misdiagnosed. This is a huge problem because it means that patient care may be delayed to a point at which it becomes too late to make a significant difference.
A new and innovative new test for cancer may change this. Called the miRview and made by Rosetta Genomics, this test is currently mostly used in litigation to prove or disprove a patient has mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. However, this test may be used more routinely in the future and may help patients get earlier, more accurate diagnoses for mesothelioma.
The Difficulty of Diagnosing Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose for a number of reasons. It begins with the symptoms. 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. Biopsies used to examine suspicious cells under a microscope can also be wrong. It is difficult to distinguish between cancer cells that came from the mesothelium and those that came from other parts of the body.
The miRview Meso Test
One of the major issues with diagnosing mesothelioma is distinguishing it from other types of cancers. Even when diagnostic tests have determined that a patient has cancer in or around the lungs, determining whether that cancer started in the mesothelium or is one of several subtypes of lung cancer is not easy. Rosetta Genomics developed a biomarker test that can make that process easier, but more importantly, much more accurate.
The miRview test uses biomarkers, molecules that indicate the presence of a certain disease, called microRNA to accurately determine the origin of cancer cells in the body. The test is relatively new, but it has been proven in studies to be able to identify the primary origin that is most likely for identified 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 sensitivity of the test has been found to be 100 percent, while the specificity is 94 percent, representing 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.
The miRview meso test is fairly new. It has so far largely 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 by the fact that 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 fair outcomes for lawsuits.
The miRview tests, including miRview meso, were developed by a company called Rosetta Genomics. The company has focused on microRNA technology. These biomarkers were only first discovered in the 1990s and it took many years after that to realize that they are unique from other types of RNA and that they can be used as biomarkers for disease. Rosetta has so far discovered hundreds of unique segments of microRNA that can be used to diagnose a number of different types of cancer.
The potential for Rosetta’s tests to provide more accurate and earlier cancer diagnoses is enormous. For people with such aggressive and difficult types of cancer like mesothelioma, this test could literally be a life saver. More research is needed before miRview becomes a regular test for mesothelioma. Current clinical trials, for instance, are examining whether or not this test is cost-effective as compared to traditional diagnostic techniques.
Page edited by Dave Foster
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