At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
To monitor progression or recurrence of a rare cancer called mesothelioma; this cancer affects the membranes that surround the lungs, heart, and abdominal cavity. Most cases of mesothelioma are associated with asbestos exposure.
When to Get Tested?
After you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, this test may be requested to follow response to treatment at anytime during or after treatment.
A blood sample taken from a vein in the arm.
Test Preparation Needed?
The Test Sample
What is being tested?
This test measures the quantity in the blood of a small molecule called mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP). These peptides are breakdown products from proteins found in the membranes lining the cavities that surround the lungs, heart, and abdomen. Large amounts of SMRP are often seen in the blood of patients suffering from mesothelioma, and the amount of SMRP in the blood is thought to be related to the extent of the disease.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the membranes that cover the outside of internal organs and line body cavities, including the chest (pleural mesothelioma), abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma), and the heart (pericardial mesothelioma). Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, accounting for 90% of all cases. Most cases of pleural mesothelioma-about 70% to 80%-arise in patients with a history of working with asbestos, especially in the shipbuilding, construction, automotive, and fireproofing industries. The disease has a long latency period, meaning that patients usually develop mesothelioma 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is taken by needle from a vein in the arm.
NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.
Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is needed.
Ask a Laboratory Scientist
NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.