Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Elevated Blood Levels Of A Protein Are Linked To Asbestos-induced Cancers

Date:
October 17, 2005
Source:
New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers at New York University School of Medicine and Wayne State University have found a molecule that reveals the early stages of pleural mesothelioma, a chest cancer caused by asbestos. The finding opens the way to a blood test for the disease, according to a new study published in the Oct. 13 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers at New York University School of Medicine and Wayne StateUniversity have found a molecule that reveals the early stages ofpleural mesothelioma, a chest cancer caused by asbestos. The findingopens the way to a blood test for the disease, according to a new studypublished in the Oct. 13 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

Related Articles


An estimated 7.5 million workers in the United States have been exposedto asbestos and, according to government statistics, it remains ahazard to some 1.3 million workers in construction and buildingmaintenance.

There has been no way to reliably screen for this type of cancer,particularly in its early stages when treatment may be more successful.The blood test could help to monitor people at risk of developingcancer due to asbestos exposure, says Harvey Pass, M.D., Chief of theDivision of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology in the Department ofCardiothoracic Surgery and Professor of Surgery at NYU School ofMedicine, and the lead author of the study.

"The levels of a protein called osteopontin rise dramatically in theearly stage of this disease," says Dr. Pass. So, he says, "a rise inthe level of this biomarker in workers with past asbestos exposure mayindicate to physicians that these people need to be followed even moreclosely for the development of cancer."

Pleural mesothelioma, a cancer that invades the lining of the chestcavity and the lining of the lungs, usually develops in people who havebeen exposed to asbestos, such as foundry workers, pipe fitters,shipbuilders, miners, electricians, factory workers, firefighters, aswell as construction workers who have used asbestos-containingmaterials. It often takes decades to develop.

"There are hotspots across the world where this type of cancer isclustered," says Dr. Pass. Such clusters are in the Wittenoom districtof Perth, in Western Australia, which has one of the highest incidencesof mesothelioma, he says. Other hotspots include Libby, Montana,regions in Quebec, Canada, in France and in Turkey.

Blood levels of a protein called osteopontin

In the new study, Dr. Pass and colleagues found that blood levels ofosteopontin were significantly higher in patients who had pleuralmesothelioma compared to individuals who were exposed to asbestos andare at risk for developing the cancer.

The study involved 190 patients. Sixty-nine had asbestos-relatednonmalignant disease, such as inflammation which leads to scarring inthe lung and plaques on the lining surrounding the lungs; 45 werecurrent or former smokers, who had no previous exposure to asbestos;and 76 patients suffered from pleural mesothelioma and were undergoingsurgery.

Those individuals exposed to asbestos for less than 10 years showed thelowest levels of osteopontin. Those levels doubled in people with morethan 10 years of exposure. The osteopontin levels rose as changes ontheir lungs, such as scarring, which were revealed on X rays, becamemore pronounced. In the patients with documented pleural mesothelioma,blood levels of osteopontin jumped--rising six-fold, even in theearliest stage (stage I) of the disease.

Further research needs to be done to determine the exact levels of theblood that would be used in screening tests for pleural mesothelioma,he says, and validation tests are in the planning stages. "What iscrucial," Dr. Pass says, "is that the marker is very encouragingspecifically in asbestos-related early-stage disease."

About pleural mesothelioma and the biomarker

The outlook for pleural mesothelioma patients who are diagnosed late isoften grim: they may live only 9 to 12 months. Sadly, fewer than 5percent of mesothelioma cases are detected early. "There are therapiesthat will help patients live longer--I would really like to see morepatients found early," says Dr. Pass, who also runs outreach programsto find people at risk. "Early detection may find patients before theysuffer the ravages of the disease including shortness of breath andpain. At this point in time, surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy,and new targeted therapies may help extend patients' lives."

Dr. Pass has been exploring surgical approaches in combination withnovel therapies for pleural mesothelioma since 1989, and has alsosought to use molecular biology tools to find an early detectionmethod, as well as to guide appropriate therapy, for the disease. Thediscovery of osteopontin in mesothelioma resulted from the analysis ofthousands of genes using gene expression arrays.

This study was a collaboration between scientists and clinicians atWayne State University, the John A. Dingell Veterans Hospital inDetroit, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola University, inMaywood, Illinois and the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids,Michigan. The research was supported in part by a Department ofVeterans Affairs Merit Review Award and by patients' donations.

Dr. Pass recently joined NYU School of Medicine. His previous positionsinclude Chief, Thoracic Oncology at the Karmanos Cancer Institute,Detroit, which is affiliated with Wayne State University, and SeniorInvestigator and Head of the Thoracic Oncology Section of the NationalCancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine. "Elevated Blood Levels Of A Protein Are Linked To Asbestos-induced Cancers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051016085244.htm>.
New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine. (2005, October 17). Elevated Blood Levels Of A Protein Are Linked To Asbestos-induced Cancers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051016085244.htm
New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine. "Elevated Blood Levels Of A Protein Are Linked To Asbestos-induced Cancers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051016085244.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins