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Study Says Exosomes Have Potential to Detect Mesothelioma Sooner

In a promising new study, researchers have discovered that exosomes have the potential to detect malignant mesothelioma (MM) sooner. Led by Dr. David W. Greening of the Department of Biochemistry and Genetics at La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science, the research team wrote:

An important area of mesothelioma biology and progression is understanding intercellular communication and the contribution of the secretome. Exosomes are secreted extracellular vesicles shown to shuttle cellular cargo and direct intercellular communication in the tumor microenvironment, facilitate immunoregulation and metastasis. In this study, quantitative proteomics was used to investigate MM-derived exosomes from distinct human models and identify select cargo protein networks associated with angiogenesis, metastasis, and immunoregulation. Utilizing bioinformatics pathway/network analyses, and correlation with previous studies on tumor exosomes, we defined a select mesothelioma exosomal signature (mEXOS, 570 proteins) enriched in tumor antigens and various cancer-specific signaling (HPGD/ENO1/OSMR) and secreted modulators (FN1/ITLN1/MAMDC2/PDGFD/GBP1).

Notably, such circulating cargo offers unique insights into mesothelioma progression and tumor microenvironment reprogramming. These findings contribute to understanding tumor-stromal crosstalk in the context of MM, and potential new diagnostic and therapeutic extracellular targets.

In simple terms, doctors can know much sooner if mesothelioma cancer cells are being formed by measuring exomes in the body—even before symptoms appear.

Mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos, can take 20 to 50 years to develop after a person is exposed. Because of this long latency period, the disease is often diagnosed at an advanced stage. This makes it extremely difficult to treat, with a 5-year survival rate of less than 1% for stage IV cancers and 5% for stage IIIB.

Doctors and researchers are on a mission to change this dismal outlook.

Treatments at improving, so people who are now being diagnosed with mesothelioma may have a better outlook than these statistics show. This is especially true of patients who are diagnosed early. In addition to the recent findings in the exomes study, researchers have developed or are currently developing blood, imaging, and even breath tests that can help detect changes in the body long before symptoms develop. These tools are also being developed to help accurately diagnose mesothelioma. Some patients have endured years of being misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed until their mesothelioma reaches stage IV and has spread to other parts of the body.  

If you have been exposed to asbestos, see your doctor right away. Early diagnosis means better treatment options and longer survival.



Greening, David W., and Maoshan Chen. "Secreted Primary Human Malignant Mesothelioma Exosome Signature Reflects Oncogenic Cargo." Scientific Reports. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 08 Sept. 2016. Web. 07 Mar. 2018.

"Survival Statistics for Mesothelioma." American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, Inc., 2018. Web. 07 Mar. 2018.