Individual predictors of increased serum mesothelin in asbestos-exposed workers

Rosa Filiberti, Paola Marroni, Manlio Mencoboni, Virginia Mortara, Pietro Caruso, Alex Cioè, Luigi Michelazzi, Domenico F. Merlo, Andrea Bruzzone, Barbara Bobbio, Lisette Del Corso, Roberto Galli, Paola Taveggia, Guglielmo Dini, Fabio Spigno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP), a candidate marker for screening of subjects with asbestos exposure, is influenced by some individual and clinical factors. The aim of this study was to quantify the role of age, smoking, weight, presence of diseases and exposure to asbestos on serum SMRP levels in a large series of subjects exposed to asbestos, possible candidates for mesothelioma screening. One thousand seven hundred and four participants underwent clinical examination and were interviewed on medical anamnesis, occupation, smoking and weight. SMRP was measured by an ELISA assay. Overall, median SMRP was 0.4 (IQR 25-75: 0.3-0.7) nmol/l. It was higher in current smokers and in subjects with a cumulative asbestos exposure >50 ff/cc/years than in all the other subjects (p <0.001 and p = 0.002, respectively). SMRP was positively correlated with age (ρ = 0.11, p <0.001) and, inversely, with BMI (ρ = -0.15, p <0.001). SMRP was lower in healthy subjects (n = 1,217: median 0.4 nmol/l) than in subjects with malignant tumors (n = 118: 0.5 nmol/l; p = 0.01), asbestos-related pleural lesions (plaques or thickenings, n = 152: 0.6 nmol/l; p <0.001) and other benign diseases (n = 182: 0.5 nmol/l; p = 0.04). Multivariate analysis revealed significant predictors of increased SMRP: age >57 years, current smoking, a positive anamnesis for cancer and for asbestos-related pleural lesions, and BMI <25. Some clinical and demographic variables are associated with serum SMRP levels. The degree of these associations is low, nevertheless they should be accounted for in the interpretation of SMPR as a candidate marker predictive of mesothelioma. The potential predictive value of serum SMRP in screening/surveillance programs must be validated in prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number422
JournalMedical Oncology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Asbestos
  • Biomarkers
  • Mesothelin
  • Mesothelioma
  • Screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology
  • Medicine(all)


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