Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Tumor Markers

Tumor markers are substances produced by cancerous cells. Normal cells can also produce tumor markers in response to a malignant (cancerous) tumor or any number of benign (non-cancerous) conditions. Tumor markers are commonly found in the blood, urine, tumor tissue and other tissues. There are at least a dozen known different types of tumor markers, and a given cancer can secrete its own specific tumor marker. Tumor marker levels in the blood can influence the detection, diagnosis and clinical management of cancer. However, tumor markers alone are not sufficient to make a definitive diagnosis. A reliable diagnosis must also utilize other tests such as biopsies and imaging tests. In addition to helping doctors detail an appropriate treatment plan, tumor markers can provide information about the effectiveness or progress of treatment. For example, stability in levels or a decrease can indicate that a treatment regimen is having a positive effect. An increase in tumor marker levels could signal that the patient is not responding to therapy as intended. Conversely, there are cases where increases in tumor marker levels are to be interpreted positively, and stability or decreases in levels, negatively.

Tumor Markers and Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Mesothelioma is frequently a challenging disease to diagnose. Based on symptoms, it can be initially confused with various health challenges, such as lung cancer. The markers D2-40 and podoplanin have been known to help differentiate between several malignant cancers, including lung adenocarcinoma, and malignant pleural mesothelioma, a form of the most common epithelioid mesothelioma. The two tumor markers accomplish this by reacting with mesothelioma, but not other cancers. A more recent 2007 study revealed some interesting findings. In addition to D2-40, this study demonstrated that the tumor markers calretinin, CEA, and TTF-1 were found to, together, provide for remarkable diagnostic accuracy for mesothelioma. Tumors that were reactive to D2-40 and calretinin were certainly mesothelioma, while tumors positive for CEA and TTF-1 were definitely not mesothelioma, but lung cancer.

1800Asbestos.com offers a complimentary packet containing information about treatment options and top doctors who may be able to provide useful information about the application of tumor markers in a mesothelioma diagnosis. Please fill out the packet request form on this page to receive your packet overnight.

Mesothelin and Osteopontin and Mesothelioma

Like many tumor markers, mesothelin can be expressed on both cancerous and normal tissues. The key is the expression of mesothelin. Mesothelioma tumor tissue is known to express mesothelin highly, thus distinguishing it from the limited amount expressed by normal tissue. Research has been done on using mesothelin levels to develop tumor-specific therapy routines. Another study investigated the effectiveness of combining the tumor markers serum mesothelin and CA125, and whether this improved the sensitivity of a mesothelioma diagnosis. The study found that combining the two markers did not offer increased accuracy of a mesothelioma diagnosis over using each one alone, but that accuracy increased when both were used in conjunction with each other. The MESOMARK test, an innovative blood test, is gaining confidence as a reliable detection method for the tumor markers soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP). It is known that serum concentrations of SMRP are higher in mesothelioma patients than in healthy people. A recent study demonstrated that the MESOMARK test could reliably measure elevated serum concentrations of SMRP.

Osteopontin has important implications in several nonpleural, malignant diseases such as breast, colon, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Serum osteopontin levels have been shown to be effective indicators of mesothelioma development, invasion, and metastases. A 2005 study revealed that serum osteopontin levels were strongly related to the duration of asbestos exposure and chest x-ray findings suggestive of asbestos exposure. The key finding of this study was the ability of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for osteopontin to detect pleural mesothelioma at an early stage. Laboratory analysis demonstrated that osteopontin was found in mesothelioma tumor cells, and not the basement membrane. This finding provided evidence of the high specificity of osteopontin in identifying transformed mesothelial cells. Moreover, osteopontin levels have been confirmed to be able to distinguish asbestos-exposed patients from early, stage I mesothelioma patients.

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