Soluble mesothelin-related peptide could be used as a biomarker for asbestos related disorders; Research

Asbestos related disorders mostly affect lungsResearchers have found that serum soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP) could be used for the detection of the severity of diseases associated with asbestos.

This research has been published online in the journal of Safety and Health at Work.

Asbestos is a carcinogenic substance. One of the most fatal diseases associated with asbestos is malignant mesothelioma, which is the cancer of the lungs. Among the other diseases from this material are pleural plaques, asbestosis, and diffuse pleural thickening. Serum SMRP is the blood based biomarker. In some of the studies, it has been reported that the increased levels of serum SMRP level is associated with the duration of past asbestos exposure.

Researchers have worked on 514 subjects, which were exposed to asbestos. They were then assessed for the severity of the diseases associated with asbestos while comparing the SMRP levels with the severity of the disease. They found that SMRP is related to the disablement from non-malignant diseases associated with asbestos, so this can be used in the diagnosis of severity from asbestos related disorders.

You may study the abstract of the paper here,


Asbestos-related diseases (ARDs) have increased globally over the decades, causing an economic burden and increased health care costs. It is difficult to predict the risk of development of ARDs and of respiratory disability among workers with a history of asbestos exposure. Blood based biomarkers have been reported as promising tools for the early detection of malignant mesothelioma. This study investigated whether serum soluble mesothelin-related peptide (SMRP) would reflect severity of disablement in compensable ARDs.


SMRP levels were measured in a cohort of 514 asbestos-exposed subjects. Severity of ARDs was assessed by a Medical Authority comprising four specially qualified respiratory physicians. Severity of ARDs and SMRP levels were compared.


Mean (standard deviation) serum SMRP level in the population with compensable ARDs (n = 150) was 0.95 (0.65) nmol/L, and was positively associated with disability assessment (p = 0.01). Mean SMRP level in healthy asbestos-exposed subjects was significantly lower than those with pleural plaques (p < 0.0001) and in subjects with ARDs who received compensation (p < 0.01).


This study indicates that serum SMRP levels correlate with severity of compensable ARDs. Serum SMRP could potentially be applied to monitor progress of ARDs. Further prospective work is needed to confirm the relationship between SMRP and disability assessment in this population.


Eun-Kee PARK, Deborah H YATES, Jenette CREANEY, Paul S THOMAS, Bruce W ROBINSON and Anthony R JOHNSON, (2012). Association of Biomarker Levels with Severity of Asbestos-Related Diseases. Safety and Health at Work,