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New Blood Test Could Help Diagnose Mesothelioma Sooner, Study Says

A recent study says a new blood test could help detect mesothelioma sooner, leading to better outcomes. In the case-control study in men, scientists discovered that a blood-based marker for malignant mesothelioma (MM) called calretinin was able to detect all major subtypes, except sarcomatoid MM. The study involved a total of 163 cases of pleural MM and 163 controls, plus another 36 cases and 72 controls. All controls had asbestosis and/or plaques.

Calretinin and mesothelin were determined by ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) in serum or plasma collected prior to therapy. Scientists estimated the performance of both markers and tested factors potentially influencing marker concentrations like age, sample storage time, and MM subtype. Calretinin showed similar performance in all groups.

Per the study, “at a pre-defined specificity of 95%, the sensitivity of calretinin reached 71% and that of mesothelin 69%, when excluding sarcomatoid MM. At 97% specificity, the combination with calretinin increased the sensitivity of mesothelin from 66% to 75%. Scientists determined that the “high specificity supports a combination of calretinin with other markers. Calretinin is specific for epithelioid and biphasic MM but not the rarer sarcomatoid form.”

Molecular markers like calretinin and mesothelin are promising tools to improve and supplement the diagnosis of MM and warrant further validation in a prospective study.

If you have been exposed to asbestos or think that you may have, see your doctor right away. He can refer you to a specialist who, with the assistance of traditional and/or newer testing methods, can diagnose mesothelioma earlier or determine if you are at risk of developing the disease. 



Johnen, Georg, Katarzyna Gawrych, and Irina Raiko. "Calretinin as a Blood-based Biomarker for Mesothelioma." BMC Cancer 17.1 (2017): n. pag. BioMed Central. Web. 24 July 2017.