The ONCOblot test was shown to be able to detect, up to 10 years before the clinical onset of disease, the presence of a marker of malignant mesothelioma in blood samples from asbestos-exposed subjects, researchers reported. Their study, “ENOX2-based early detection (ONCOblot) of asbestos-induced malignant mesothelioma 4–10 years in advance of clinical symptoms,” was published in the journal Clinical Proteomics.
Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive and often deadly cancer, most often induced by exposure to asbestos. Chemotherapy treatment with pemetrexed and cisplatinum usually increases patient survival, on average, by a mere 10 weeks. However, early stage patients who undergo extrapleural pneumonectomy followed by adjunct chemotherapy and radiotherapy have improved chances at a five-year survival rate. (Extrapleural pneumonectomy is a surgical treatment for malignant mesothelioma, in which surgeons remove lung, a portion of the diaphragm, and the linings of the lungs and heart, called parietal pleura and pericardium, respectively.)
A research team has investigated if a specific factor recently detected in circulation on early stages of several cancers, including breast, lung, colon, prostate, and ovarian cancer, is a potential marker of malignancy in malignant mesothelioma. To detect the presence of ecto-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide oxidase disulfide-thiol exchanger 2 (ENOX2) factor, researchers used the ONCOblot tissue of origin cancer detection test, a serum-based method for cancer detection.
The team collected sequential serum samples from asbestos-exposed individuals before the development of mesothelioma. The samples were submitted to the ONCOblot test for the presence of mesothelioma-specific ENOX2 variants.
Researchers found two mesothelioma-specific ENOX2 protein variants in the serum of asbestos-exposed individuals, four to 10 years before any clinical diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma (average of detection was of 6.2 years). Moreover, researchers detected neither one nor both ENOX2 protein variants in 14 out of the 15 subjects diagnosed with benign pleural plaques.
In conclusion, the research team showed that with a simple test, the serum ENOX2 proteins characteristic of malignant mesothelioma can be identified in a four- to 10-year timeframe before the clinical diagnosis. These preliminary results, however, need further validation in future studies with a larger, independent cohort of patients before a potential early detection test for malignant mesothelioma might be established.