Blood Test May Spot Asbestos-Linked Cancer
Test May Help Screen High-Risk People, Researchers Say
New Blood Test
Pass and colleagues did osteopontin blood tests on 190 people, 76 of whom
had pleural mesothelioma. Sixty-nine patients had asbestos-linked lung disease
that wasn't cancerous.
For comparison, the study also included 45 current or former smokers with no
Most participants who had been exposed to asbestos had worked in an
asbestos-related trade for at least five years.
Higher osteopontin blood levels were linked to pleural mesothelioma but not
to noncancerous asbestos-related lung diseases, the study shows. There also was
little difference in the osteopontin levels between the 69 noncancerous
asbestos-related lung disease participants and the 45 people without asbestos
exposure. Osteopontin levels were similar for men and women.
It's not yet clear if high blood osteopontin levels indicate other kinds of
Osteopontin and Cancer
Osteopontin has been studied as a possible marker for other cancers
before. For instance, it's one of four proteins being tried as a potential
blood test for ovarian cancer.
The researchers write that "asbestos workers with high osteopontin
levels who do not appear to have mesothelioma should be evaluated to rule out
the presence of other cancers."
Larger studies confirming the test's usefulness and evaluating its role for
other cancers need to be done.
The new blood test isn't justified for the general public, write the