New Diagnostic Tests for Mesothelioma Involves Little Pain or Risk

Mesothelioma lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm highlight recent research which found promising results from a new diagnostic test for peritoneal mesothelioma. The biopsy test uses a small needle and single skin puncture to diagnose the abdominal disease.

There are three main types of mesothelioma: pleural, which refers to cancer of the lining of the lungs, pericardial, which affects the surrounding of the heart, and peritoneal, which is cancer of the abdominal cavity. There are three other types of mesothelioma (testicular, omental, heterologous), however, they are extremely rare.

Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type, accounting for about 30% of diagnoses. Like all other types of mesothelioma, it is extremely difficult to diagnose given its insidious symptoms and long latency period (developing anywhere between 20 and 50 years after exposure). Peritoneal symptoms can be especially vague, which is why new diagnostic tests are so critically important for survival.

Researchers in China and Egypt recently conducted studies on the diagnostic value of peritoneal biopsies, which were published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The Chinese scientists performed a retrospective analysis, meaning they examined data from patients who had already undergone the peritoneal biopsy.

In contrast, researchers at Cairo University enrolled over 60 patients with accumulation of fluid in their abdominal cavities with unclear origin. These patients underwent conventional and high-frequency transabdominal ultrasounds to determine the nature of the fluid buildup. Patients also underwent fine needle aspiration cytology and/or core biopsy to confirm diagnosis. If biopsies were inconclusive, patients underwent laparoscopies or laparotomies.

Cairo researchers successfully diagnosed 55 of 62 patients (87.7%) using the ultrasound-guided biopsy procedure. Their ultrasonic criteria were able to diagnose with over 80% sensitivity for malignancy (cancerous tumors) and 75% for benign fluid buildup (non-cancerous tumors). Adding microscopic examination of tissues recovered by the biopsies increased specificity to nearly 89%.

Most notably, these procedures were considered safe in almost all patients. Only three patients suffered any complications, one of whom experienced some bleeding in the peritoneal cavity and two of whom experienced temporary leakage of abdominal ducts.

The researchers in China analyzed more than 150 patients in their retrospective study, to evaluate the diagnostic value of ultrasound-guided peritoneal lesion biopsies. All 153 patients had abdominal fluid buildup and/or abdominal swelling with unclear causes, like the patients in Cairo.

All patients demonstrated abdominal abnormalities and underwent the procedure using C.R. Bard’s auto-biopsy gun with 18- or 16-gauge needles. Happily, 100% of the procedures were successful , and specific diagnoses were made for 142 of the 153 patient with an overall accuracy of nearly 93%. Only 11 patients were not able to receive pathologic diagnoses because the tissue recovered during biopsy was not sufficient. It is worth noting that there were no complications among this group of patients.

Both studies concluded that ultrasound-guided peritoneal biopsies were a safe, effective, easy, inexpensive, and accurate diagnostic method in patients with unclear fluid buildup and/or abdominal swelling. This is a significant finding because mesothelioma is so often misdiagnosed as something far less serious, thus prolonging the disease and allowing tumors to spread. Early diagnosis is, by far, the most important factor in long-term survival.

Mesothelioma attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm remind those suffering from vague abdominal or lung symptoms to talk to your doctor about the possibility of ultrasound-guided biopsy, especially in those patients who have ever been exposed to mesothelioma. As stated, mesothelioma can take decades to develop and manifest symptomatically, so it is best to begin testing as soon as possible. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, you have important legal rights, and may be able to file a claim against the negligent party for the exposure. Contact an experienced asbestos exposure attorney today for a free legal consultation.

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