Serum diagnostic markers for malignant pleural mesothelioma: a narrative review

Translational Cancer Research 2022 December [Link]

Jing-Jing Wang, Li Yan


Background and objective: The prognosis of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is poor, and early diagnosis is key to improving the prognosis. Pleural biopsy is the gold reference for diagnosing MPM, but it is an invasive method that can cause operation-related complications such as bleeding and infection. Serum biomarkers, with the advantages of mini-invasiveness, short turnaround time and objectiveness, represent a promising diagnostic tool for MPM.

Methods: We searched the PubMed database to identify clinical studies published between 1990 to July 2022 that investigated the diagnostic accuracy of serum biomarkers for MPM. The major findings of the verified studies were summarized.

Key content and findings: Currently, there are many available serum markers for MPM, including mesothelin, soluble mesothelin-related peptides, osteopontin, fibulin-3, high mobility group box 1, and microRNA. Systematic review and meta-analysis evidence indicates that the sensitivity and specificity of these serum markers are less than 0.90. In addition, a large portion of previous studies have limitations, especially the representativeness of the study cohort.

Conclusions: The diagnostic accuracy of currently available serum biomarkers is unsatisfactory, and further studies are needed to investigate novel serum biomarkers.