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Serum levels may indicate survival advantage in some mesothelioma patients

A multi-center study in Austria suggests that the blood levels of serum C-Reactive Protein, or CRP, may help doctors predict how mesothelioma patients will respond to surgery and other treatments.

Blood levels of CRP, which is synthesized in the liver, rise in response to inflammation or infection, which triggers a response from the body's immune system.

From medical records, researchers in Vienna examined the pretreatment CRP levels of 115 patients with pleural mesothelioma. They then analyzed each patient’s response to a multi-modality treatment, which for some patients included surgery.

They found that patients who had elevated levels of CRP level before treatment did not survive as long after treatment as those with normal CRP levels, which confirmed the usefulness of measuring CRP levels as one factor in the predicting how some mesothelioma patients would respond to treatment.

They also found that the relationship between CRP level and outcome was especially significant in patients who had undergone surgery. Patients with normal CRP levels who were operated on survived longer when compared to patients with normal levels who received only chemotherapy and radiation.

Meanwhile, patients with elevated CRP levels showed no survival advantage after treatment that included surgery.

“Our results suggest that multimodality regimens including radical resection increase survival selectively in MPM patients with normal pretreatment serum CRP levels,” the researchers concluded.

The findings, published online by the Annals of Surgery, are significant because it can be difficult to predict which mesothelioma patients will benefit from surgery, which may involve removal of the entire lung.

Deciding on which treatment to offer patients, most of whom were diagnosed with advanced-stage mesothelioma, can be challenging for doctors. Biomarkers that can help them predict which patients are the best candidates for surgery could result in earlier treatment and extend lives.



About The Author

Mesothelioma Options Help Center staff writer Brian Wallstin is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Concord, N.H. Brian previously worked at the Missourian from 2003-2009 as a columnist and city editor, and served as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Prior to that, he worked as a staff reporter at the Houston Press.