Pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs) resulting in respiratory distress is a common presenting complaint in veterinary emergency rooms and can be caused by a wide variety of underlying diseases. Malignant (cancerous) effusions are associated with a poor prognosis but differentiation of malignant from benign disease is often difficult on the basis of pleural fluid cytology and routine imaging. Differentiating between normal, reactive and malignant mesothelial cells to refute or establish a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is particularly challenging. Currently there are no commercially available tests for diagnosing malignant mesothelioma in dogs, and the gold standard diagnostic tool remains histopathology (evaluating a biopsy of the tissue that lines the inside of the chest wall).
The objective of this study is to evaluate SMRP as a biomarker for malignant mesothelioma in dogs. We hypothesize that the MesoMARK™ assay, designed to detect SMRPs in human serum, will cross react with canine SMRP and that dogs with malignant mesothelioma will have higher concentrations of SMRPs in both serum and pleural fluid, than dogs with pleural effusion in the absence of malignant mesothelioma.
Any dog (any age, sex or breed) with pleural effusion, of known or unknown etiology, is eligible for study inclusion, with owner consent.
There are no direct benefits to the client. The indirect benefit is that this research will aid in the development of biomarkers for canine malignant mesothelioma, which will help in the earlier diagnosis, and treatment of dogs with this disease in the future.
Dr. Claire Sharp
Phone: (508) 839-5302.