Screening for Mesothelioma and Serum Osteopontin Level Testing 

Screening for Mesothelioma and Serum Osteopontin Level Testing 

Diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is often made too late to successfully remove the cancer or halt its progression. Consequently, researchers have been looking for a biomarker that would be definitive in diagnosing metastatic mesothelioma, but, as yet, have not been entirely successful. Serum osteopontin is a molecule whose presence is associated with metastatic mesothelioma. It one of three biomarkers that have raised a lot of interest, and generated many research studies around the world.

One study published in 2007 by the Pulmonary and Thoracic Oncology Department, Hopital Calmette (this is not a misspelling,) Lille, France concludes that osteopontin is not sufficiently specific to diagnose mesothelioma. They did conclude, however, that it might be useful in monitoring the disease. The paper states that cytohistology is still the most accurate diagnostic measure for mesothelioma.

A study published by the Department of Surgery, Wayne State University, Karmanos Cancer Institute, John A. Dingell Veterans Hospital, Detroit, MI noted that the serum osteopontin levels measured notably higher in pleural mesothelioma patients, as compared to a group whose participants had been exposed to asbestos and had various asbestos-related diseases (plaques, fibrosis or both, but not mesothelioma.) Their conclusion was that serum osteopontin levels are useful for distinguishing between patients who have pleural mesothelioma and those that have other asbestos related diseases that are not cancerous.

A study by doctors at Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (INSERM) U774, Institut Pasteur de Lille, Lille, France studied both the diagnostic and prognostic value of osteopontin with slightly different results than other studies revealed. They concluded that osteopontin is less accurate as a diagnostic measure, but may have potential as a prognostic marker.

In a fourth study by doctors at the National Research Centre for Asbestos Related Diseases, Western Australian Institute of Medical Research, Nedlands, Australia similar results show that osteopontin is not the marker scientists hope to find. This report added that osteopontin levels did not differentiate between mesothelioma and other malignancies.

Most other studies seem to confirm these results, and each points to two other biomarkers as having the potential to provide differential diagnosis reliability. Of the three, soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP) shows the most promise for both early detection of malignant mesothelioma and differentiating between benign and metastatic carcinomas.

Treatment for mesothelioma can be expensive, and impose great demands on you and your family. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, you may be entitled to a settlement to pay these expenses. Please contact the lawyers experienced in mesothelioma claims in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

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