Diagnostic testing for mesothelioma — a rare and aggressive form of cancer caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos — is administered through various methods, including blood samples, imaging scans, needle biopsies, and ultrasounds.
However, these mesothelioma diagnosis tests are often performed once doctors have ruled out the possibility of other lung-related diagnoses with similar symptoms, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Since it can take 10 to 50 years for mesothelioma to develop, patients who finally seek medical attention for their symptoms often receive their diagnosis after their cancer has attacked other organs and reached advanced stages — leaving them in a desperate state of emotional turmoil and rapidly declining physical health.
Patient anxiety and depression are further heightened with the news that the average life expectancy for mesothelioma patients is between 12 and 21 months.
Test of Time: New Mesothelioma Blood Test Analysis
In a study published in the October 2022 issue of the journal Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease, researchers found malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) may be detected faster and earlier through a new blood test.
With early detection, mesothelioma patients have a better chance of receiving a more favorable prognosis, including higher survival rates.
Spearheaded by a group of university faculty and hospital staff in Turkey, the study explored a new approach to examining mesothelioma biomarkers — abnormal proteins associated with the disease that are present in the body. It is through the detection of such biomarkers that blood tests can inform doctors about a patient’s potential cancer diagnosis.
Currently, there is not yet a universally approved blood test that can diagnose mesothelioma. Instead, doctors can use blood tests in combination with a biopsy to guide a mesothelioma diagnosis.
During the study, researchers applied the Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) technique to closely examine patients’ clear blood serum, without the additional presence of blood cells and clotting proteins. With a high-resolution glance at the pure serum, they were able to identify the presence of malignant pleural mesothelioma cells.
“[Infrared] spectroscopy of [blood] serum provides a fast, cheap, non-invasive diagnosis of MPM.”
— Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease, Volume 1868, Issue 10, 2022
Existing Mesothelioma Blood Tests
Like any other type of cancer-detecting blood test, the goal of current mesothelioma blood tests is to search for and identify certain proteins that are linked to cancer.
The three most common type biomarkers tested for include:
In the event that cancer cells are present, doctors will order biopsies of specific organs or areas of the body to confirm the patient’s cancer status.
There is not yet a type of blood test that definitively verifies the presence of mesothelioma, but these biomarkers can be used as indicators for this deadly cancer.
Get Support for Mesothelioma
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be experiencing feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, and fear.
Our compassionate and knowledgeable Patient Advocates are available to answer your questions and provide you with a variety of resources to help you navigate this difficult journey.