New early stage test for mesothelioma promising, say Danish researchers

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Scientists have recently announced the results of research which may offer hope of a new early diagnosis mesothelioma test.

Mesothelioma is an aggressive and usually fatal cancer which causes pleural plaques – lesions in lung tissue – leading to breathing difficulties and usually a persistent and debilitating cough.

Research into Mesothelioma

Different types of lesions in the lung can mimic malignant mesothelioma, including some benign forms of lung tissue disease – and diagnosis can cover a whole range of different types of mesothelioma test.

Finding a mesothelioma test for early stages of the cancer has eluded doctors, but a team of Danish researchers has conducted research into an enzyme called MTAP (Methylthioadenosine phosphorylase) which is usually absent from mesothelioma cells.

Substances such as MTAP found in blood or in fluids in the organs of the body – as in the lungs – are called biomarkers.

MTAP helps healthy cells recycle a co-enzyme called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for cell division and other cell processes.

The team investigated whether low levels of MTAP in cells could be detected and the findings used as an early-stage mesothelioma test.

The researchers tested 99 mesothelioma patients for levels of MTAP in the fluid in their lungs – and also tested 39 patients who were suffering from a different condition called RP (reactive mesothelial proliferations).

The researchers found that 65% mesothelioma patients had decreased levels of MTAP, while only 23% of the RP patients had the same low levels of MTAP.

When they conducted further tests on the lung fluid of 14 mesothelioma patients and 20 RP patients, the results suggested that low levels of MTAP in patients could be used as a mesothelioma test in conjunction with current tests for other biomarkers in the blood to provide a more accurate early stage mesothelioma test.

The researchers found that the new mesothelioma test could predict with 90 per accuracy the presence of malignant mesothelioma in patients – and identified patients who did not have the cancer with 70% accuracy.


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