Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an asbestos-related neoplasm, which can be treated successfully only if correctly diagnosed and treated in early stages. The asbestos-exposed population serves as a high-risk group that could benefit from sensitive and specific blood- or tissue-based biomarkers. This review details the recent work with biomarker development in MPM and the contributions of the NCI Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Developmental Laboratory of NYU Langone Medical Center. The literature of the last 20 years was reviewed to comment on the most promising of the blood- and tissue-based biomarkers. Proteomic, genomic, and epigenomic platforms as well as novel studies such as "breath testing" are covered. Soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRP) have been characterized extensively and constitute an FDA-approved biomarker in plasma with diagnostic, monitoring, and prognostic value in MPM. Osteopontin is found to be a valuable prognostic biomarker for MPM, while its utility in diagnosis is slightly lower. Other biomarkers, such as calretinin, fibulin 3, and High-Mobility Group Box 1 (HMGB1), remain under study and need international validation trials with large cohorts of cases and controls to demonstrate any utility. The EDRN has played a key role in the development and testing of MPM biomarkers by enlisting collaborations all over the world. A comprehensive understanding of previously investigated biomarkers and their utility in screening and early diagnosis of MPM will provide guidance for further future research.See all articles in this CEBP Focus section, "NCI Early Detection Research Network: Making Cancer Detection Possible."
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.