New Test for Early Diagnosis of Mesothelioma
Researchers at Oxford University announced that they have developed an improved diagnostic test for early detection of malignant mesothelioma. Mesothelioma, an incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure and affecting the lungs, is often difficult to diagnose and to distinguish from lung cancer.
Using a more sensitive pleural fluid cytology test to evaluate the fluid that builds up around the lungs, researchers determined that a protein known as meothelin is higher in mesothelioma patients than in those with other diseases. Mesothelioma patients had up to a 10 times higher concentration of the protein than did patients with other conditions.
Mesothelioma is typically diagnosed when the patient is in the late stages of the illness resulting in a survival time of 4 – 12 months. The anticipation is that this test will limit invasive diagnostic tests and will increase patient survival time once mesothelioma is diagnosed.