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The Test Sample
What is being tested?
Soluble mesothelin-related peptides (SMRP) are breakdown products from proteins found in the membranes that line the cavities surrounding the lungs, heart, and abdomen. High amounts of SMRP are often seen in the blood of people suffering from mesothelioma, and the amount of SMRP in the blood is thought to be related to the extent of disease. This test measures the amount of SMRP in the blood.
Malignant mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the membranes that cover the outside of internal organs and line body cavities, including the chest (pleural mesothelioma), abdominal cavity (peritoneal mesothelioma), and the heart (pericardial mesothelioma). About 3,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in the U.S., and pleural mesothelioma is the most common type, accounting for 90% of all cases.
Malignant mesotheliomas can also be classified based on the type of cell found:
- Epithelioid cell type (line body cavities): accounts for 50-70% of mesotheliomas; tends to be associated with a better prognosis than the other types.
- Sarcomatoid cell type: accounts for about 10% of mesotheliomas and is the most difficult to treat.
- Mixed (biphasic): has both epithelioid and sarcomatoid areas; accounts for up to 40% of mesotheliomas.
Most cases of pleural mesothelioma—about 70% to 80%—arise in people with a history of working with asbestos, especially in the shipbuilding, construction, automotive, and fireproofing industries. The disease has a long latency period, meaning that people usually develop mesothelioma 20 to 50 years after asbestos exposure.
How is the sample collected for testing?
A blood sample is drawn by needle from a vein in the arm.
NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.
Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.
Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?
No test preparation is needed.