The results of a new study published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics may help doctors in accurately identifying malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), rather than non-cancerous pleural tissue with reactive mesothelial proliferations (RMPs), which is a common issue.

Mesothelioma, primarily caused by asbestos exposure, is typically difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of many other illnesses. Therefore, being able to correctly identify mesothelioma cells earlier will lead to quicker treatment.

The scientists’ goal, according to lead investigator Eric Santoni-Rugiu, MD, PhD, was “to identify microRNAs that can aid in the differential diagnosis of MPM from RMPs.” microRNAs, which are non-coding RNA strands, have been used for diagnostic, prognostic, and predictive purposes for other cancers.

In qualifying the study’s results, Santoni-Rugiu explained that he and the rest of the scientists identified four specific biomarkers that could potentially be used to accurately diagnose mesothelioma. “The International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) recommends that a diagnostic marker of MPM have sensitivity/specificity of >0.80,” he said. Using results from the identified microRNA strands, the scientists were able to classify tissue as MPM or RMP with an accuracy of 0.94, sensitivity of 0.95, and specificity of 0.93.

Being able to diagnose mesothelioma sooner would be a huge step toward an eventual cure. Due to its lengthy latency periods and difficult diagnosis, the disease is almost always fatal; currently, less than 20% of those with mesothelioma are successfully treated with surgery.

Source: http://www.mesothelioma.com/news/2014/06/mesothelioma-study-identifies-four-biomarkers-that-may-help-speed-up-diagnoses-and-treatment.htm#ixzz34Vk3nK00

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