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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2017

Midkine is a potential novel marker for malignant mesothelioma with different prognostic and diagnostic values from mesothelin

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2017
Guntulu Ak, Yuji Tada, Hideaki Shimada, Selma Metintas, Masaaki Ito, Kenzo Hiroshima, Masatoshi Tagawa, Muzaffer Metintas
Wichtige Hinweise
Guntulu Ak and Yuji Tada contributed equally to this work.



We evaluated possible diagnostic and prognostic values of serum midkine in malignant pleural mesothelioma in comparison with those of serum mesothelin, a well-established diagnostic biomarker.


Serum mesothelin and midkine levels were determined with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We examined specimens from 95 Turkish cases with malignant pleural mesothelioma, 56 metastatic cancers to pleura, 27 other types of benign pleural diseases and 20 benign asbestos pleurisy. The cut-off values were 1.5 nmol/L for mesothelin and 421 pg/mL for midkine.


Sensitivity and specificity of mesothelin were 51.6 and 71.4%, 51.6 and 85.2%, and 51.6 and 85% for differentiating mesothelioma from metastatic cancers to pleura, other benign pleural diseases and benign asbestos pleurisy, respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of midkine were 61.1 and 41.1%, 61.1 and 48.1%, and 61.1 and 75% to distinguish mesothelioma from metastatic cancers to pleura, other benign pleural diseases and benign asbestos pleurisy, respectively. Combination of both biomarkers did not improve the differential diagnostic efficacy. Mesothelin levels were elevated in the epitheloid type and in the advanced cases, but were not related to the prognosis. In contrast, elevated baseline levels of midkine were independently associated with a poor prognosis of mesothelioma patients after adjusting for the stage, the histological subtypes and treatment schedules (HR = 1.84; 95% CI: 1.09-3.09) (p = 0.022).


Serum mesothelin showed moderate sensitivity and high specificity to differentiate malignant pleural mesothelioma from metastatic malignancy to pleura and from benign pleural diseases. In contrast, midkine was a useful marker for predicting prognosis of mesothelioma patients.
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