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Malignant Mesothelioma Histology

Histology, the study of the microscopic structures in cells and tissues, is known to be essential to a correct cancer diagnosis. It helps determine which types of cells are present and allows physicians to tailor cancer treatment to the diseased cells.

For mesothelioma patients, an accurate histology prevents misdiagnoses and fast tracks treatments that can be essential to quelling the disease. While the characteristics of the cell types do not affect the symptoms, they are important because some treatments are tailored to specific cells.

Caused by prolonged and continuous exposure to asbestos, Mesothelioma is known as one of the most rare and difficult cancers to treat. So a quick diagnosis is essential. Overall, the treatment for mesothelioma depends on the stage and placement of the cancer. The three main types of treatment for mesothelioma are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

When studying cell samples that have the presence of mesothelioma, researchers are looking for one of three types of cells:

Epithelial Mesothelioma

Under a microscope, these cells have a central nuclei, a definite structure and are uniform in shape and size. Epithelial cells make up epithelial lining, which surround the internal organs. Epithelial cancer cells, also called epithelioid cells, are the most common type of malignant, or cancerous, mesothelioma cells and account for up to 60 percent of all cases. Papillary mesothelioma, also called well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (WDPM), is an uncommon variety of epithelial mesothelioma and is frequently diagnosed in women. Epithelial cancer cells are further broken down into several subtypes. Of the three types of mesothelioma cells, epithelial cells typically result in the best prognosis.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

These cells are elongated, spindle-shaped and look disorganized under a microscope. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma accounts for up to 20 percent of all cases and is the least common of the mesothelioma cell types. Most sarcomatoid tumors develop in the pleural, or the protective lining of the lungs. Sarcomatoid tumors are known to be difficult to diagnose and treat because they resemble other types of tumors. Because of this, it is important to reveal all past work history during the initial physical exams. Sarcomatoid tumors are also known to be aggressive so the treatment options are limited. Our patient advocates are available right now to answer your questions about sarcomatoid cells and any other mesothelioma questions you may have. Contact them now.

Biphasic Mesothelioma

As the second most common mesothelioma cell type, only 20 to 35 percent of patients with malignant mesothelioma are classified as biphasic. This cell type is more common among those with pleural mesothelioma than other variations of the disease. Biphasic cells are often called a mix cell type because they look like a mixture of epithelial and sarcomatoid cells. In diagnosing and treating biphasic mesothelioma, it is important for physicians to determine the ratio of cells.

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