Scientific evidence has shown that many malignant cancer cells express a particular protein called glucose-transport protein 1 (GLUT-1). Recently, a study was conducted to determine if GLUT-1 could be used as an effective diagnostic tool in distinguishing specific types of malignant mesothelioma from other benign reactive lesions of the mesothelium such as fibrosing pleuritis and mesothelial hyperplasia. These conditions are often difficult for doctors to differentiate and diagnose because the presenting symptoms are so similar.
Dr. Aliya Husain, a researcher and pathologist from the University of Chicago, collaborated with a team of international colleagues to retrospectively examine the biopsies of multiple samples using Glut-1 immunostaining. The specimens included were 41 epithelioid malignant pleural mesothelioma, 29 sarcomatoid malignant pleural mesothelioma, 3 biphasic mesothelioma, 5 desmoplastic mesothelioma, 29 fibrosing pleuritis and 31 mesothelioma hyperplasia cases. Using immunohistochemical staining on the samples, the researchers looked for the presence of GLUT-1.
Overall, the investigators found that 58% of the malignant mesothelioma specimens tested positive for the presence of GLUT-1. Specifically, 21 of the 29 sarcomatoid samplings, 21 of the 41 epithelioid samplings and 3 of the 3 biphasic mesothelioma samples tested positive. The desmoplastic specimens, a rare subtype of mesothelioma, were all negative for GLUT-1. All of the benign lesions tested negative for GLUT-1
Although there was no GLUT-1 expression detected in any of the 60 benign samples, the investigators warn that a negative stain should not be used conclusively to rule out a malignancy. Additionally, the researchers suggest that GLUT-1 immunohistochemical staining could be used as a valuable diagnostic tool for malignant mesothelioma if used in combination with a panel of markers as well as other pertinent patient data. The study findings can be found in the journal, Lung Cancer.
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