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GPX-1 Could be used as a Biomarker for Mesothelioma

Published: January 7, 2022

An enzyme that helps clean up the byproducts of cellular oxidation could potentially be a biomarker for pleural mesothelioma. People with very small amounts of the enzyme were found to survive longer than people who have higher levels of the enzyme. The enzyme is Glutathione peroxidase-1 (GPX-1). It can be found in all cells to help prevent the buildup of toxins and regulate cellular processes. GPX-1 can also be involved in the development of cancer. Researchers in Egypt found that this is the case when they compared regular pleural tissue with mesothelioma tissue next to it. They found the cancerous tissue had more GPX-1. The less GPX-1 that occurred, the better the prognosis.

Pleural mesothelioma is a cancer of the membrane that surrounds the lungs. When people are diagnosed with mesothelioma, they typically have a poor prognosis for many reasons. Mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose, so a person’s cancer could easily spread and become much worse before it is caught and diagnosed. A biomarker that doctors can look for would make it much easier to diagnose and treat mesothelioma. If the bodies of patients with mesothelioma create more of a substance, doctors can look for that substance in people with suspected cases to see if they have the cancer, making it easier to diagnose.

All cells contain some amount of GX-1 since it is an antioxidant enzyme. It can help break down hydrogen peroxide, a byproduct of cellular oxidation. Hydrogen peroxide can be toxic at high levels, so GX-1 helps transform it into water. GPX-1 can possibly help cancer develop. The researchers at Zagazig University Hospital in Egypt measured the GPX-1 levels of mesothelioma cells and patients to see if it was a biomarker for mesothelioma. They found higher levels in pleural mesothelioma tissue compared with regular pleural tissue.

The researchers were able to conclude that GPX-1 levels were a good diagnostic tool for distinguishing mesothelioma tumors from healthy tissue. They also looked at it as a biomarker for pleural mesothelioma patients. They used 98 patients from the hospital in the analysis. They found that the patients with the lowest levels of the substance lived twice as long as people with very high GPX-1 expression. The median overall survival for patients with high GPX-1 expression was 16 months compared to 40 months for those with low expression. A combination of different biomarkers can help determine different diseases, so GPX-1 expression can be combined with other mesothelioma biomarkers to help determine if a patient has mesothelioma.

Amal F. Gharib et al., “Assessment of Glutathione Peroxidase-1 (GPX1) Gene Expression as a Specific Diagnostic and Prognostic Biomarker in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma” Diagnostics (December 7, 2021). [Link]
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