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Biomarker for mesothelioma may have been found.

* Biomarker for mesothelioma may have been found. Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have discovered the protein product of a little-known gene may prove useful in identifying and monitoring the development of mesothelioma in early stages. "This gene produces a protein, fibulin-3, that is present in levels four to five times higher in the plasma of patients with mesothelioma compared to levels in asbestos-exposed patients or patients with several other conditions that cause tumors in the chest," says lead investigator Harvey I. Pass, MD, the Stephen E. Banner Professor of Thoracic Oncology, vice chair of research for the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and division chief of General Thoracic Surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Fibulin-3 is a protein that floats outside cells, coating the cells and free floating in blood plasma and extracellular fluid. The research team compared levels of fibulin-3 in two separate cohorts of patients who were exposed to asbestos through their jobs: a group of iron workers and other asbestos-exposed individuals in Detroit, and a group of insulators in New York. Both cohorts included individuals who had been exposed to asbestos but did not develop mesothelioma, as well as individuals with a confirmed mesothelioma diagnosis. The researchers found that fibulin-3 expression was markedly elevated in the plasma of the patients with mesothelioma compared with the plasma of patients without mesothelioma.

To test how specific the over-expression of fibulin-3 is to mesothelioma, they compared levels of the protein in the plasma of patients with mesothelioma to the plasma Levels of the protein in patients afflicted by a variety of different types of cancer resulting in chest tumors. They found that fibulin-3 also discriminated between non-mesothelioma patients with different kinds of chest-tumor cancers and patients with mesothelioma, confirming high specificity.
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Title Annotation:New Studies
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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