April 12, 2011 – At the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research on April 4, 2011, NYU Langone Medical Center researchers presented their study of a new diagnostic test to detect early stage malignant pleural mesothelioma. The test can accurately identify proteins secreted from cancerous tumors caused by asbestos exposure.
The goal of the new diagnostic test is to detect malignant pleural mesothelioma early enough to effectively treat it. The researchers explained that current treatments only benefit mesothelioma patients in stage 1 of the disease. Furthermore, detecting the disease early allows for less extensive surgical intervention, leaving the patient better able to deal with a recurrence.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs and causes an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 deaths worldwide each year. The disease usually results in death within 14 months following diagnosis because it is not typically found until it reaches an advanced stage. The study found that the protein test was 80% effective in detecting stage 1 or stage 2 of the cancer. Studies are ongoing to refine the test.