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What is a Biomarker?

Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys explain what a biomarker is for those with mesothelioma.The aggressive and malignant mesothelioma cancer, which has been closely associated with long-term exposure to asbestos, has been infamously difficult to diagnose during the early stages. Although there are certainly ways to diagnose mesothelioma, such as x-rays and CT scans, they often subject a patient to radiological tests, or cannot confirm the diagnosis without a biopsy. Now, researchers and doctors are searching for more ways to simplify the monitoring and treatment of the disease through biomarkers, hopefully to improve the prognosis of those suffering with mesothelioma.

Also known as assays, biomarkers are certain substances and proteins found in the body’s bloodstream that are used to detect cancers and other diseases.  Doctors have been successful in tracking different cancers using biomarkers. Unfortunately, researchers have found that the biomarkers used in finding mesothelioma are not sensitive enough to accurately monitor the disease without using other forms of testing.

The hope of finding more sensitive biomarkers for mesothelioma is to prevent misdiagnoses, and to save the patient time and money from having to go through additional biopsies or radiological testing. If doctors could diagnosis mesothelioma accurately with just a blood test, the patient could start treatment right away to improve their survival rate. Fortunately, there are biomarkers used today to help with the prognosis and treatment of a patient, and researchers are working tirelessly to find additional biomarkers.


Presently, there are several biomarkers used to confirm the presence of mesothelioma. Mesothelin and the assay test Mesomark are used to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis. Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it, its sensitivity is too low to be considered accurate enough to be a standalone biomarker. Other biomarkers, such as fibulin-3 and osteopontin, could also be present in the bloodstream for other diseases or cancers, thus they also cannot be used as standalone biomarkers. The protein strand of mesothelin may be the most promising biomarker yet; its initial sensitivity is the highest among these biomarkers, but additional research and testing must be performed to confirm this sensitivity range.

Currently, scientists and researchers in China conducted study after study, and determined that mesothelin-related peptides, or SMRP, may have the highest sensitivity rating and may be the most accurate. Like the FDA, they too approved Mesomark to be the best biomarker to use in the fight against mesothelioma.  Though more research and studies must be performed to confirm this, doctors and researchers are very hopeful that they can find a biomarker accurate enough to prevent subjecting a patient to additional testing.

Philadelphia Mesothelioma Attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler Fight for Those Diagnosed with Mesothelioma Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or have been exposed to asbestos, then contact the Philadelphia mesothelioma attorneys at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. Our knowledgeable attorneys will help obtain the compensation you and your family rightfully deserve. Call us today at 215-569-4000 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Delaware County, Chester County, and Philadelphia County.