Study: Protein may predict mesothelioma survival

A new Australian study showed that the glycoprotein MUC1 is overexpressed in peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare abdominal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, and could serve as a prognostic tool in determining the severity of the deadly disease.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales tested 42 peritoneal mesothelioma patients for the overexpression of MUC1, a mucin protein that staves off infection by preventing pathogens from entering cells. Of those patients in the study, 38 of them, or 90%, showed an overabundance of the protein. The team found that it was this high level of MUC1--as well as being older than 60 at the time of diagnosis--that led to poor outcomes.

"MUC1 evaluation by immunohistochemistry may serve as a useful prognostic tool in malignant peritoneal mesothelioma, but may need further confirmation in larger patients' cohort," the authors wrote in their findings published in the International Journal of Biological Markers.

Mesothelioma is most commonly associated with the lungs as a result of working with asbestos, but peritoneal mesothelioma affects the lining of the abdomen and accounts for about 25% to 30% of mesothelioma cases.

- here's the abstract
- and here's the release