Scientists from multiple Australian research centers believe they have discovered a new biomarker for mesothelioma, one that one day may simplify the process of diagnosing cancer.
The research team used miRNA microarrays to analyze plasma samples from patients with the cancer and a control group with no known cancers.
Published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, the study found that two specific micro RNAs, or miRNAs, were present in high amounts in patients, relative to other miRNAs.
The two that were discovered are known as miR-29c and miR-92a.
RNA is ribonucleic acid that carries messages to DNA. RNAs are capable of producing cancer cells.
Identifying the two miRNAs among the 90 that were studied may enable researchers to diagnose the cancer earlier and through more convenient means, such as through blood tests.
After conducting additional tests, the researchers found that 15 novel miRNAs were present in the plasma of patients. One of them was miR-625-3p. This miRNA was discovered in significantly higher amounts than others and also could be used to make a distinction between mesothelioma samples and healthy plasma samples.
Mesothelioma is not normally accompanied by an encouraging prognosis, commonly yielding a life expectancy between four and 18 months.
Because this cancer is usually diagnosed in later stages when the cancer is harder to treat, any progress made by researchers to enhance and shorten the diagnosis process could prove extremely valuable to future patients of this aggressive disease.
“Our data reveal that miR-625-3p is a promising novel diagnostic marker for MM,” concluded the authors of the study.
Currently, diagnoses are typically performed by way of biopsy, CT scan, MRI, PET scan, X-Ray.
The Australian researchers remain hopeful that the study’s results will yield to continued innovation and improvements in the diagnostic process for mesothelioma.