Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MM) is a highly aggressive tumor characterized by a poor prognosis. Although its carcinogenesis mechanism has not been strictly understood, about 80% of MM can be attributed to occupational and/or environmental exposure to asbestos fibers. The identification of non-invasive molecular markers for an early diagnosis of MM has been the subject of several studies aimed at diagnosing the disease at an early stage. The most studied biomarker is mesothelin, characterized by a good specificity, but it has low sensitivity, especially for non-epithelioid MM. Other protein markers are Fibulin-3 and osteopontin which have not, however, showed a superior diagnostic performance. Recently, interesting results have been reported for the HMGB1 protein in a small but limited series. An increase in channel proteins involved in water transport, aquaporins, have been identified as positive prognostic factors in MM, high levels of expression of aquaporins in tumor cells predict an increase in survival. MicroRNAs and protein panels are among the new indicators of interest. None of the markers available today are sufficiently reliable to be used in the surveillance of subjects exposed to asbestos or in the early detection of MM. Our aim is to give a detailed account of biomarkers available for MM.
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