While peritoneal mesothelioma is certainly not the most common form of mesothelioma, it is definitely one of the deadliest. Thankfully however, researchers in Japan have discovered a process that may help in identifying and diagnosing peritoneal mesothelioma earlier using a blood test – which may in turn help mesothelioma victims fight the fatal disease.
Essentially, peritoneal mesothelioma is a condition in which the cells that make up the lining of the abdominal cavity – otherwise known as the peritoneum – produce a dangerous amount of excess fluids.
While asbestos exposure is linked to peritoneal mesothelioma, it is still not known for certain how the condition develops. For example, some believe the condition occurs after a person inhales asbestos fibers and they migrate from the pleura (the lining of the lungs) to the peritoneum. Conversely, others believe the condition develops after asbestos fibers are ingested and find their way from the stomach to the abdomen.
But, regardless of how the disease actually develops, the one thing that remains clear is that the condition is extremely deadly. For instance, in many cases peritoneal mesothelioma victims die within a year of diagnosis.
However, 5-year survival rates for peritoneal mesothelioma are known to be higher when remedial surgeries are conducted earlier in the condition’s development – meaning that early diagnosis is of vital importance to patients. Thankfully, a group of Japanese researchers has found that a particular protein, HMGB1, is found in higher levels in the blood of those patients with peritoneal mesothelioma. Consequently, researchers theorized that a simple blood test may be used to diagnose mesothelioma patients earlier; thus giving them a fighting chance.
Researchers focused on this particular protein because of its known connection to another condition named pulmonary fibrosis. Specifically, researchers posited that the mesenchymal cells involved in peritoneal mesothelioma would contain high levels of HMGB1 given their similarity to fibroblasts in pulmonary fibrosis – which also produces high amounts of HMGB1.
Although it is unclear if this blood test will be widely used in the fight against mesothelioma, it does demonstrate just how important early mesothelioma detection is. However, if you or a loved one has already been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is often best to discuss your options with a knowledgeable asbestos litigation attorney. A skilled and experienced attorney can assist in investigating the root of your asbestos exposure and help in ensuring your rights are protected.