Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive disease arising in pleural cell lining and is associated with asbestos exposure. Today, there is a rising incidence of MPM reaching 3,000 annual cases nationally, primarily from the large population occupationally exposed to asbestos between 1940 and 1980. With a prolonged latency period, presenting clinically 10 to 40 years after exposure, MPM is often diagnosed in late stages and presents median survival time of less than 12 months. There is a serious need for improvement in prognostic and diagnostic tools for MPM. Recent investigation and discovery of various biomarkers has shown promise, including Osteopontin, Fibulin-3, Soluble Mesothelin-Related Proteins (SMRP), High Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1), micro-RNA's, peripheral blood-based markers, and Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamer (SOMAmer) proteomic assays. In this review, we explore these current major biomarkers and their prognostic and diagnostic potential, highlighting the most recent large studies and developments for each. While progress has been made in mesothelioma research, many questions remain unanswered. Increased international cooperation is necessary for improving validity of results for current biomarkers through repeated investigation and increasing cohort sizes, as well as for the continued search for new and better markers.
Keywords: Mesothelioma; asbestos; biomarker; diagnosis; prognosis.