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Mesothelioma | New Test Detects Early Stage Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

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NYU researchers presented a study at the 102nd American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting that led to a new test that detects early-stage, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer.  The NYU Langone Medical Center investigated a protein test to detect early stage malignant pleural mesothelioma where the test was 80 percent sensitive to accurately identifying the pulmonary cancer proteins caused by asbestos exposure.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive, asbestos related cancer that invades the lining of tissue that surround the lungs.  Approximately 3000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma per year and symptoms of mesothelioma generally occur approximately 20 to 30 years after the asbestos exposure.  The disease can be fatal with 12 months following the diagnosis because of its aggressive nature and it typically is diagnosed in the advanced stages of the cancer.

The lead researcher, Harvey I. Pass, MD, director of the division of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology at NYU, said the goal of the new diagnostic test is to find the asbestos-related cancer early enough to effectively treat.  Dr Pass went on to say that “the only patients that seem to benefit from therapy in mesothelioma are those that are found in Stage 1, and this is only 10 to 15 percent of patients,” reasoning that the “magnitude of the operation necessary to reduce the burden of disease may be less, making the patient better able to cope if the disease recurs and the patient needs more aggressive therapy.”

The SomaLogic, Inc. “Multiplex SOMAmer Assay” was used to detect 15 of 19 cases of stage 1 or stage 2 malignant pleural mesothelioma showing an approximate 80 percent sensitivity in indentifying the disease.  According to the Dr. Pass, the test measures 19 protein biomarkers for malignant pleural mesothelioma.  There remain ongoing studies to further refine and validate the results.  For more information on the study, visit http://www.med.nyu.edu/.

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