For people suffering with pleural mesothelioma, the asbestos related cancer, a build up of fluid around the lungs, known as a pleural effusion, can cause awful symptoms. Most pleural mesothelioma patients will at some point suffer with chest pain and/or shortness of breath caused by the pleural effusion and the only relief can come from draining the fluid.
Recent research from the Institute for Respiratory Health at the University of Western Australia, has found that pleural fluid may be more a more sinister part of mesothelioma, other than simply causing symptoms.
Researchers looked at pleural fluid samples from people with mesothelioma and people who did not have mesothelioma. They found that when applied to lab grown mesothelioma cells, the samples from mesothelioma patients acted differently, stimulating cell proliferation and inducing cell migration.
To further the research, they then introduced chemotherapy drugs and found that the fluid from mesothelioma patients “significantly protected mesothelioma from cisplatin-pemetrexed-induced cell death”. This suggested that the pleural fluid in mesothelioma patients could help mesothelioma be resistant to treatment.
The researches then took the study to the next level, using mice with mesothelioma. They found that if injected with mesothelioma pleural fluid, the tumours grew “significantly faster” than if the mice were injected with saline.
This is important research and the findings of this study show that further investigation is needed to fully understand the importance of pleural fluid in mesothelioma patients and the impact this has on their treatment.
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Source: Cheah, HM, “Malignant pleural fluid from mesothelioma has potent biological activities”, August 25, 2016, Respirology.