Study Finds Clotting Protein May Predict Mesothelioma Treatment Response, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

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Researchers say a new biomarker could help clinicians determine which mesothelioma patients are good candidates for surgery.

Fibrinogen proved to be a predictive biomarker indicating treatment benefit achieved by surgery within multimodality therapy.

A new article published in the British Journal of Cancer and reported by Surviving Mesothelioma suggests that a glycoprotein called fibrinogen can help predict survival in patients with malignant mesothelioma.

Fibrinogen is a soluble glycoprotein found in blood plasma and important for clotting. To test its relationship to mesothelioma, researchers from Austria, Hungary and Croatia measured fibrinogen levels in 175 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The average age of the 138 men and 38 women in the study was 63.5.

The researchers found that 154 mesothelioma patients (87.5%) had elevated plasma levels of fibrinogen. When patients were grouped by fibrinogen levels, those with the lowest pre-treatment levels had significantly longer overall survival than those with the highest levels. Low-level fibrinogen mesothelioma patients lived for an average of 19.1 months while the higher fibrinogen patients had an average survival of 8.5 months.

Beyond its potential for predicting survival, the study found another important use for fibrinogen. The authors write, “Most interesting, fibrinogen proved to be a predictive biomarker indicating treatment benefit achieved by surgery within multimodality therapy.” When they compared fibrinogen levels to mesothelioma patient response after surgery and adjuvant treatments, such as chemotherapy and/or radiation, they found that only patients with fibrinogen levels below the 75th percentile benefitted from this approach. The difference between the two groups was dramatic: Overall survival of 31.3 months versus 5.3 months for the lowest 25%.

Mesothelioma is a rare but intractable cancer affecting the lining around the lungs and other organs. Although fibrinogen has not been used to predict mesothelioma survival or treatment response in the past, the research team says this novel biomarker could be an important tool for guiding clinicians in the treatment of future patients. The new fibrinogen mesothelioma study appears in a recent issue of the British Journal of Cancer. (Ghanim, B, et al, “Circulating fibrinogen is a prognostic and predictive biomarker in malignant pleural mesothelioma”, January 16, 2014, Epub head of print.

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.

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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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