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Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification of Malignant Mesothelioma

Histologically, these tumors are composed of spindle cells (sarcomatoid) or epithelial elements or both (biphasic). Desmoplastic mesothelioma, consisting of bland tumor cells between dense bands of stroma, is a subtype of sarcomatoid mesothelioma. The epithelioid form is occasionally confused with lung adenocarcinoma or metastatic carcinomas. Epithelioid tumors account for approximately 60% of mesothelioma diagnoses.[1] Attempts to diagnose by cytology or needle biopsy of the pleura are often unsuccessful. It can be especially difficult to differentiate mesothelioma from adenocarcinoma on small tissue specimens. Thoracoscopy can be valuable in obtaining adequate tissue specimens for diagnostic purposes.[2]

Examination of the gross tumor at surgery and use of special stains or electron microscopy can often help to determine diagnosis. Pancytokeratin stains are positive in nearly all mesotheliomas.[1] Particularly useful immunohistochemical stains for the differential diagnosis of epithelioid mesothelioma include cytokeratin 5 and 6, calretinin, WT-1, and D2-40. Calretinin and D2-40 positivity in combination with pancytokeratin positivity is most useful to distinguish sarcomatoid mesothelioma from sarcoma and other histologies.[1] Histologic appearance seems to be of prognostic value, and most clinical studies show that patients with epithelial mesotheliomas have a better prognosis than those with sarcomatoid or biphasic mesotheliomas.[3,4,5]

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References:

  1. Travis W, Brambilla E, Müller-Hermelink H, et al., eds.: Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of the Lung, Pleura, and Thymus. Lyon, France: IARC Press, 2004. World Health Organization Classification of Tumours.
  2. Boutin C, Rey F: Thoracoscopy in pleural malignant mesothelioma: a prospective study of 188 consecutive patients. Part 1: Diagnosis. Cancer 72 (2): 389-93, 1993.
  3. Chahinian AP, Pass HI: Malignant mesothelioma. In: Holland JC, Frei E, eds.: Cancer Medicine e.5. 5th ed. Hamilton, Ontario: B.C. Decker Inc, 2000, pp 1293-1312.
  4. Nauta RJ, Osteen RT, Antman KH, et al.: Clinical staging and the tendency of malignant pleural mesotheliomas to remain localized. Ann Thorac Surg 34 (1): 66-70, 1982.
  5. Sugarbaker DJ, Strauss GM, Lynch TJ, et al.: Node status has prognostic significance in the multimodality therapy of diffuse, malignant mesothelioma. J Clin Oncol 11 (6): 1172-8, 1993.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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