According to a new study presented at the annual International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer conference, researchers claim to have identified a possible new biomarker for malignant pleural mesothelioma, which is an often-deadly form of cancer typically caused by asbestos exposure.
This particular biomarker – a fibroblast growth factor known as FGF18 – is a protein that is often involved several biological processes, including cell growth, tissue repair and tumor growth/invasion.
According to researchers involved in the recent study – and reported by the website Surviving Mesothelioma – FGF18 levels were “significantly elevated” in those individuals with mesothelioma, suggesting that this biomarker could be a helpful tool in diagnosing the deadly cancer.
In addition, the researchers found that mesothelioma victims with FGF18 levels below the median level lived longer than those with higher levels – 625 days compared to just 382 days. Ultimately, this led to the conclusion that FGF18 may be useful in not only diagnosing mesothelioma, but for prognosis purposes as well.
Why is this so important?
Since scientists have yet to create a definitive test for pleural mesothelioma, the identification of a possible diagnostic biomarker is incredibly important. After all, the sooner this deadly disease is diagnosed, the sooner a patient can begin treatment.
In addition, this biomarker may also be helpful in determining whether certain treatments may be working in a particular patient or not. Hopefully, in time, this new biomarker may be able to help the countless victims of asbestos exposure fight their deadly diseases.