Introduction: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly aggressive tumor with poor prognosis. One major challenge for this disease is the development of new, early, and highly reliable diagnostic markers. The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic value of the chemokine chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), galectin-3, and the secretory leukocyte peptidase inhibitor (SLPI) with soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP), and to evaluate the diagnostic performance of marker combinations.
Methods: The levels of the different markers were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in pleural fluids from patients with MPM (n = 61), adenocarcinomas (ADCA, n = 25), or with benign pleural effusions (BPE, n = 15).
Results: SMRP, SLPI, and CCL2 concentrations were significantly higher in pleural effusions from mesothelioma patients. Conversely, galectin-3 levels seemed to be elevated in patients with pulmonary ADCA. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed that SMRP (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.9059), CCL2 (AUC = 0.7912), galectin-3 (AUC = 0.7584), and SLPI (AUC = 0.7219) were potentially interesting biomarkers for the differentiation of MPM patients from those with BPE or ADCA. Of interest, we showed that the combination of SMRP/CCL2/galectin-3 greatly improved MPM diagnosis (AUC = 0.9680), when compared with SMRP alone.
Conclusion: The combination of SMRP/CCL2/galectin-3 seems to represent a promising panel of biomarkers for the reliable diagnosis of MPM in pleural fluids.