Malignant mesothelioma can be classified by different cancer cell types, each of which tends to behave differently. There are three classifications assigned to malignant mesothelioma cell types.
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Mesothelioma Cell Types
- Epithelial Mesothelioma – is the most common cell type and accounts for approximately 50-75% percent of all diagnosed cases each year. These cells are uniform in shape, with an elongated pattern that makes them easily distinguishable when viewed under high magnification. These types of mesothelioma cancer are adenocarcinomas, malignancies which are more commonly associated with pure lung cancers as opposed to cancers of the mesothelium.
- Sarcomatoid mesothelioma – accounts for only about 10 to 15 percent of the mesothelioma cancer cells and is the least common form of mesothelioma. Sarcomatoid cells are typically oval shaped, but more irregular. The nucleus of sarcomatoid cells is not as clearly visible under an electron microscope as the nuclei of epithelioid mesothelioma cancer cells. Because the irregular oval shape is common among cancer cells, sarcomatoid mesothelioma can be confused with sarcomatoid carcinoma and with sarcoma.
- Biphasic mesotheliomas – are a combination of elements of both the epithelial and sarcomatoid subtypes, with components of each in the same tumor, or found in specific groupings throughout the tumor. This cell type makes up 20% to 35% of mesotheliomas.
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