Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is a deadly cancer mainly caused by previous exposure to asbestos. With a latency period up to 50 years the incidence of MM is still increasing, even in countries that banned asbestos. Secondary prevention has been established to provide persons at risk regular health examinations. An earlier detection with tumor markers might improve therapeutic options. Previously, we have developed a new blood-based assay for the protein marker calretinin. Aim of this study was the verification of the assay in an independent study population and comparison with the established marker mesothelin.
The Ca(2+)-binding protein calretinin is currently used as a positive marker for identifying epithelioid malignant mesothelioma (MM) and reactive mesothelium, but calretinin’s likely role in mesotheliomagenesis remains unclear. Calretinin protects immortalized mesothelial cells in vitro from asbestos-induced cytotoxicity and thus might be implicated in mesothelioma formation. To further investigate calretinin’s putative role in the early steps of MM generation, primary mesothelial cells from calretinin knockout (CR-/-) and wildtype (WT) mice were compared.