Completing a cancer treatment regimen is a big step for patients, but it is not the end of the line as far as their care is concerned. Patients must undergo thorough post-treatment monitoring to make sure their cancer was eliminated or, in some cases, track the progression of what has remained. For patients suffering from mesothelioma, a rare and fatal cancer caused by asbestos exposure, regular CT scans can detect any lingering tumors. However, these scans are burdensome, and the cost may be prohibitive for some patients. Fortunately, an easier solution may be on its way, according to a recent study published in BMC Cancer.
Researchers at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom conducted a simple blood test on mesothelioma patients who recently completed chemotherapy or another type of supportive care regimen. They measured levels of soluble mesothelin, a protein found in the blood and pleural fluid of patients suffering from mesothelioma. Patients were tested three times each month for a year, and they underwent CT scans after three, six, and 12-month periods.
Mesothelin Test Results Matched CT Scans
The study team compared the results of the blood tests and scans and found a strong correlation between levels of mesothelin and tumor bulk and stage. For patients suffering from epithelial mesothelioma, the most common form of the disease, who also showed a 10 percent increase in their mesothelin levels, the results matched with those of the CT scan with 96 percent accuracy. Patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma had an accuracy rating of almost 80 percent. The correlation was not as high in patients whose disease had not progressed, showing about 74 percent accuracy.
Mesothelin measurements are already in use as a method of diagnosing the disease and tracking the effectiveness of treatment. This study is the first, however, to showcase its potential for post-treatment monitoring. In addition to accurately tracking the progression of the disease, the mesothelin test proved to be a good indicator of survival time. Patients whose mesothelin levels were the same or lower after six months had an average survival time of 448 days; those whose levels increased survived an average of 175 days.
Better Testing Could Improve Prognoses
More trials will need to be conducted before mesothelin testing is available as an alternative to CT scans, but researchers are hopeful about the results. Having a more convenient and cost-effective method of measuring post-treatment progression could potentially have significant survival outcomes for mesothelioma patients. Early detection is key to successful treatment, and there have been numerous recent developments that could lead to effective second-line and non-chemotherapy treatment methods. Patients who are tested regularly and see their mesothelin levels rising can immediately act to combat the progression of the disease, either by starting second-line treatment or enrolling in a clinical trial.
New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers at Shein Law Advocate for Asbestos Exposure Victims
If you or a loved one is suffering from mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, call the New Jersey mesothelioma lawyers at Shein Law. Our experienced lawyers are dedicated to obtaining the compensation you deserve and holding those responsible for your asbestos exposure accountable. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we help mesothelioma patients and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 877-743-4652 or contact us online for an initial consultation.