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 Types of Malignant Mesothelioma




In histological terms, malignant mesothelioma is divided into three different types: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. Classifications for these categories are dependent upon the shape and structure of the cancer cells. In general, all types of malignant mesothelioma are treated in a similar fashion, but some may be addressed more aggressively than others if they result in a shorter lifespan.           

Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Of the three types of malignant mesothelioma, epithelioid is the most common, occurring in approximately 50 to 70 percent of cases. These mesothelioma cells have been given this name because they have the appearance of epithelial cells, which line organs and cavities throughout the human body. Epithelioid mesothelioma cells generally feature a well-defined, uniform shape when viewed under a microscope.

Biphasic Mesothelioma

The second most common type of mesothelioma is called biphasic mesothelioma. Accounting for roughly 20 to 40 percent of all mesothelioma cases, biphasic mesothelioma tumors are composed of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. Instead of appearing as an even mixture of cells, these cells are usually arranged in groups within a tumor. Because of this factor, several samples are taken from different locations within a tumor during the biopsy, which is done to ensure a correct diagnosis is made.

In most cases, those diagnosed with biphasic mesothelioma are considered to have a bleaker prognosis than patients diagnosed with epithelioid or sarcomatoid mesothelioma. Since biphasic tumors are generally more treatment-resistant, this form of malignant mesothelioma often receives more aggressive treatment than other forms of mesothelioma.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the least common of the three types of malignant mesothelioma, accounting for roughly 10 to 15 percent of diagnosed cases. Visible only when viewed under a microscope, sarcomatoid cells appear as elongated spindle-shaped cells, which feature an irregular shape and often overlap one another.

This form of mesothelioma can be hard to diagnose because it resembles another form of cancer. Cells affected by pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma are very similar in appearance and feature other characteristics that are indicative of malignant sarcomatoid mesothelioma as well.

For more information on malignant mesothelioma and other diseases caused by asbestos exposure, please visit Asbestos.com.




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