Late stage cancers usually kill the victim, brutally. That’s especially true for the vicious cancer commonly known as mesothelioma. Therefore, researchers continue to seek out biomarkers to try to find tumors before they manifest themselves clinically. Success could provide great news for mesothelioma victims. Research success also would bring new issues for defendants and their insurers. 

The biomarker frontiers are expanding, and the developments are being followed by the plaintiff’s bar.  Thus, for example, researchers in Japan published a July 2010 article on a potential biomarker known as CD146. The article is published in Modern Pathology, and the abstract is free. The key portion of the excerpt is as follows: 

"[A]ll 23 malignant pleural mesothelioma cases were positive for CD146 by either OJ79 or EPR3208. On the other hand, CD146 expression was undetectable in all reactive mesothelium cases by OJ79 and EPR3208. The sensitivity of OJ79 and EPR3208 was 94 and 90%, respectively, and the specificity was 100% for both clones. We propose that CD146 is a sensitive and specific immunocytochemical marker enabling differential diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma from reactive mesothelium."

News of these developments is published online in various places. The places include a September  1, 2010 article on Asbestos.com, a website that is highly visible on Google  to people searching for information on mesothelioma. The website is owned in part by a plaintiff’s firm known as The Peterson Firm. The website, however, says very little about the firm itself, except that it involves Carl H. Peterson. For more on the Peterson firm, go to this page on "Corporation Wiki."   In any event, the Asbestos.com article includes the following text:

"In a recent article published in the online publication Modern Pathology, researchers may have found a new biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma. They also believe the biomarker may help differentiate malignant mesothelioma from reactive mesothelium.

The biomarker being evaluated is a cell adhesion molecule known as CD146. Previous studies have revealed the molecule’s presence in malignant melanoma, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. In order to test its diagnostic utility, researchers examined the increased expression of CD146 in malignant pleural mesothelioma and reactive mesothelium using two clones of CD146 antibody on smear specimens of effusion fluids. The two antibodies were OJ79 and EPR3208.

Immunocytochemical stains were measured as zero for negative, one for weak positive, two for moderate positive and three for strong positive. For OJ79, CD146 expression was detected in 15 of 16 malignant pleural mesotheliomas with a median immunostaining measurement of three. For EPR3208, 19 of 21 malignant pleural mesotheliomas displayed a median CD146 expression measurement of two.

In all reactive mesothelium cases, CD146 expression was undetectable when using OJ79 and EPR3208. The researchers concluded that CD146 is a sensitive and specific immunocytochemical marker for distinguishing the difference between malignant pleural mesothelioma and reactive mesothelium.

Current methods for diagnosing pleural mesothelioma often make it challenging for doctors to differentiate it from other pleural conditions. The symptoms of such diseases are very similar and a diagnosis usually requires a doctor who is familiar with pleural conditions.

Testing for another unique biomarker will help doctors distinguish mesothelioma from other conditions, making a correct diagnosis easier for doctors. Early detection and treatment for mesothelioma is crucial for patients hoping to combat the disease.

Additional information on mesothelioma may be found through the Mesothelioma Center.