Researchers may have confirmed a quick, effective and minimally invasive tumor tracking test for pleural mesothelioma. A simple blood test may soon accompany the standard CT scans to accurately detect tumors and allow doctors to quickly respond with appropriate treatments.
Mesothelin Testing in Mesothelioma Patients
Researchers have been investigating the connection between mesothelin blood levels and tumor size as a simpler way to detect and track mesothelioma progression. Mesothelin is a protein commonly found in the blood of mesothelioma patients and can help doctors diagnose the condition.
Recently, new studies have shown that mesothelin testing can be useful not just for diagnosing mesothelioma, but also for helping doctors monitor pleural mesothelioma prognosis.
From recent studies, it appears that higher mesothelin levels in patients indicate that pleural mesothelioma tumors have become more widespread throughout the body (metastasis). Therefore, patients with high mesothelin levels may have a worse prognosis.
Doctors perform a mesothelin test using the MESOMARK test, which specifically detects soluble molecules in the blood that belong to the mesothelin family of proteins. Typically, doctors use the MESOMARK test along with imagining tests to better diagnose mesothelioma and distinguish it from other cancer types.
Tracking Mesothelioma Tumor Growth
The standard monitoring test for pleural mesothelioma is a computed tomography (CT) scan, which doctors use to measure pleural thickness (the thickness of the lung lining). These tests show clear images of the pleural lining and can reveal whether there has been an increase in pleural lining thickness, indicating that the tumour is growing or has returned.
The medical community is constantly revising how we prevent, diagnose and treat mesothelioma to ensure the highest standard of care possible. Right now, CT scans are considered time-consuming, costly and not as accurate as they could be.
If doctors can rely on mesothelin test results to tell them how much a tumor has grown and spread, it can save them time and help them intervene with targeted treatments sooner.
Recent findings published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology confirmed what researchers had previously found—higher levels of mesothelin in the blood do correspond to thicker pleural linings, meaning the tumors have grown.
Based on this research, scientists are suggesting that to accurately monitor patients for tumor progression, doctors can test mesothelin blood levels and then follow up with CT scans. This will allow them to see exactly how much pleural mesothelioma tumors have grown.
Blood Tests Can Help Doctors Develop Treatment Plans
Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer. There are currently limited treatment options, leaving diagnosed patients with a low survival rate. Ongoing research is critical for us to better understand the disease and how to prevent, detect and treat it.
The more information doctors can gather on the exact location and size of a patient’s mesothelioma tumors, the more information they have to develop a tailored treatment plan.
Mesothelioma specialists work across the country at mesothelioma cancer centers. Specialists have access to the latest mesothelioma technology and testing to provide patients with the best treatment possible. Contact Mesothelioma Help Now today to get connected with a specialist who can accurately diagnose your condition and provide a personalized treatment plan.