Study Shows Specific Protein May Help Predict Mesothelioma Treatment Efficacy and Patient Survival Rates

A group of scientists from Austria, Hungary, and Croatia have published an article in the British Journal of Cancer that details the predictive value of a protein called fibrinogen.  Fibrinogen, a soluble glycoprotein biomarker that aids in blood clotting, and that can be found in blood plasma, is valuable because it helps predict patient survival rates and the treatment response of malignant pleural mesothelioma patients.

The Study

Researchers tracked the fibrinogen levels in 175 patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.  Of the 175 patients, 138 were men and 38 were women, with the average age being 63.5.  Researchers found elevated plasma levels of fibrinogen in 154 patients, roughly 87.5 percent of the total patients.

Fibrinogen as a Predictor of Survival

Doctors can use fibrinogen as a tool in advising patients on the potential value of undergoing aggressive surgery.  While mesothelioma does not exhibit symptoms for many years, sometimes 10-50 years before the first symptoms appear, the life expectancy after a diagnosis averages 8-18 months.  The study indicated that patients who possessed high levels of fibrinogen experienced shorter survival periods, and those with lower levels experienced longer survival periods.  The group with the lower pre-treatment levels of fibrinogen lived for an average of 19.1 months while the group with higher pre-treatment levels lived an average of 8.5 months.  This new information is useful because it will give patients a better picture of how aggressive treatment will benefit them.  Many patients will choose to undergo aggressive surgery that has a minimal-at-best chance of extending their lives, and reduces their already low and limited quality of life.  Doctors will be able to make more informed recommendations to patients concerning aggressive treatments, such as pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy.

Fibrinogen as a Predictor of Treatment Benefit

Fibrinogen plays a valuable role in predicting how much patients will benefit from treatment.  According to the authors of the study, “Most interesting, fibrinogen proved to be a predictive biomarker indicating treatment benefit achieved by surgery within multimodality therapy.”  The doctors in the study compared the fibrinogen levels to the treatment response of mesothelioma patients after multimodal treatment, such as surgery combined with other treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.  They discovered that only the patients that possessed fibrinogen levels below the 75th percentile would benefit from treatment.  The difference was even more dramatic when the authors compared the survival rates post treatment: patients below the 75th percentile had an overall survival of 31.3 months as opposed to the 5.3 months exhibited by patients at the 25th percentile or lower.

If You Are Affected by Mesothelioma

If you or someone in your family has mesothelioma, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the toll the disease has taken on your personal life.  Treating mesothelioma, whether through aggressive surgeries or a more palliative approach, can become very expensive quickly.  Consider contacting an experienced mesothelioma lawyer today to see if you are eligible to receive compensation to help you with the costs.

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