Identification and validation of biomarkers for mesothelioma

Creaney J, Robinson BWS, Lee YCG, Nowak AK, Musk AW, Brims F.

Synopsis (lay): Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a deadly asbestos-induced cancer. Currently diagnosis of MM is difficult, and there are limited treatment options. Biomarkers play a valuable role in the management of other cancers. This study will investigate clinical samples collected over the past twenty years to identify biomarkers specific for MM with the aim of improving patient outcomes.

Synopsis (scientific): Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive, asbestos-induced incurable cancer with increasing incidence. We aim to develop new MM-specific tumour biomarkers, which offer an inexpensive, sensitive means of diagnosing MM in “at risk” individuals and a means of monitoring the response of MM to therapy, with the aim of improving MM treatment outcomes. Using high throughput genomic, proteomic and immunomic platforms we have identified a number of candidate biomarkers including one protein, ENOX2, that could be detected in the serum of asbestos exposed individuals 4 years before MM diagnosis.

Western Australia has the highest incidence of MM in the world. Our centre sees many of these MM cases; therefore we have the opportunity to evaluate in a clinical setting with a high MM pre-test probability, the clinical diagnostic accuracy of the biomarkers. Similarly we have an active clinical trials program where robust, clinical and imaging data is prospectively collected on over 40% of our diagnosed patients. This will allow us to determine the predicative power of longitudinally collected biomarkers compared with CT and PET imaging. This study will not only identify biomarkers for MM, it will also validate their utility in a clinical setting.

NCARD Research Team

Jenette Creaney, Bruce Robinson, Anna Nowak