What is Biopsy?
Biopsy is a process in which a sample of tissue is extracted through different process from a particular part of the body. This is done by the doctor if there is any doubt of abnormality in the particular tissue or organ. Biopsy is mostly done to identify cancerous growth in any particular organ. Biopsy can answer a lot of important medical questions and hence it is very important to be performed as and when needed. For e.g. a lump in the breast can be studied for breast cancer via mammography, biopsy of a mole on the body surface can determine the reason for change in the shape of the mole. These are only a few examples. When any organ is transplanted biopsy also helps us study the success of the transplanted organ.
Different types of biopsy
- Needle biopsy
- CT scan biopsy
- Ultrasound guided biopsy
- Aspiration biopsy
- Surgical biopsy
In most of the biopsies a needle is used to extract a particular tissue that is to be observed.
CT scan biopsy
In this kind of biopsy a needle is inserted into a person’s body. Then a CT scan is performed to determine the exact position of the needle in the target tissue and then the extraction of the tissue is performed.
Ultrasound guided biopsy
In this kind of biopsy the doctor guides the needle into the target tissue by observing the process through ultrasound.
In this kind of biopsy a needle withdraws a particular material out of a lump of tissue, which is to be observed. This type of process is called aspiration biopsy.
In this process an open or laparoscopic surgery is performed to remove a part or entire lump of the tissue. This lump is then studied via biopsy.
Biopsy in mesothelioma
Biopsy is the most accurate method for the detection of mesothelioma. In peritoneal mesothelioma needle aspiration can be used as a technique to remove the tissue. But, in pleural mesothelioma thoracoscopic biopsy is more prevalent.
This process is an open pleural biopsy. This helps the doctor to remove multiple tissues from around the plasma layer of the lung. Most of the places nowadays have the assistance of video that helps the doctor in the accurate tissue removal process.
The other types of biopsies that are involved in mesothelioma are as follows
- Fine needle aspiration
- Endoscopic biopsy
- Incisional biopsy
- Excisional biopsy
Fine needle aspiration
In this kind of biopsy a small hollow needle is used to aspirate the sample that is to be observed.
In this kind of process a hollow needle is used to extract fluid and air from the space between the lungs and pleura. This process is helpful in pleural mesothelioma.
It is the type of invasive surgery, which gives access to lungs, heart, aorta, diaphragm, etc. In this type of biopsy a small wedge shaped tissue is removed for the study.
In this type biopsy is performed through endoscopy and the tissue is removed through small sharp forceps attached to the endoscope.
When the tumor is easily accessible, a small incision is made and only a small tissue is removed for further study.
In this type of biopsy, through surgery the entire tissue or the organ is removed for further study. This also saves us from second removal surgery that is performed after the diagnosis.
Blood test and biomarker test for Mesothelioma
Body cells produce tumor markers in response to cancer and other non cancerous conditions. These tumor markers are also produced by cancer tumor cells. But, these tumor marker cells are highly produced in cancerous conditions and can be found in our blood, urine, stool and other body fluids of cancer patients. Hence, apart from other tests the doctors also advise us to get the blood and biomarker test performed.
There are many different types of tumor markers. Some are used for only a particular type of cancer and there are others which can be used for two or three types of cancers. But, there is no one universal type of tumor marker that can be used for all the types of cancers.
Use of tumor markers in the detection of cancer
The elevated level of a tumor marker combined with other imaging and biopsy tests help the doctor in the detection of cancer. In some of the cancers the tumor marker level also suggests the stage of the disease. The tumor marker level blood test can also be conducted during the treatment to see if the cancer is responding to a particular treatment or not. If the tumor marker level is still increased and high, the cancer is not responding to the treatment. If the tumor marker level is decreasing and returning to its normal level in the body then it means that the cancer is responding to the particular treatment. The tumor marker test can also be performed after the completion of the treatment to see the reoccurrence of the disease.
Biomarker tests for Mesothelioma
Blood and biomarker tests are very important in Mesothelioma because usually it has been noted that an amino acid chain or protein is found elevated in the patients of Mesothelioma. There are mainly three different tests that help assist in the proper diagnosis and prognosis of Mesothelioma. These tests involve
- Fibulin- 3
Patients of Mesothelioma have a high amount of Soluble Mesothelin related Peptides in their body and blood stream. And hence the study of this amino acid marker is performed
CA125 is a natural antigen present in malignant cancer cells. It is also present in malignant Epithelioid Mesothelioma. It is measured from blood and fluid taken from the affected body part.
Fibulin-3 is a protein found in the plasma of patients having Mesothelioma. This test is still in its developmental stage, but this can also help detect Mesothelioma in earlier stages and hence will also help in early diagnosis.