Facts About Pleural Mesothelioma

Benign mesothelioma and malignant mesothelioma are very serious issues, both in their own right. For instance, the benign type is very rare. Some benign mesotheliomas consist of adenomatoid tumors and benign cystic mesothelioma.

The most common malignant type is a rare but very aggressive form of neoplasia. Malignant mesothelioma is distinguished by the type of malignant cell present. Pleural Mesothelioma is a malignant form of this disease.

Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma

The signs and symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may be:

  • Chest pain (mild to severe)
  • Back pain
  • Pleural effusion
  • Shortness of breath, even at rest
  • Nodules on the skin and on the thorax
  • A persistent cough (mild to severe)
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constant panting
  • Traces of blood in mucus

Some of these symptoms are very serious, even when they are alone. However, together, they can be deadly if ignored. Below are the different cell types of mesothelioma.


Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common cell type, accounting for approximately 50-75% of cases diagnosed each year. The round or polygonal shape of these cells makes them easy to distinguish under the microscope. This type of tumor cell is similar to that of adenocarcinoma.

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is a less common cell type and it accounts for about 7 to 20% of cases diagnosed each year. These cells are fusiform, like those of muscles and bones. Because of this similarity, it may be difficult to distinguish the sarcomatoid mesothelioma from other tumors under a microscope like:

  • Bone (osteosarcoma)
  • Connective tissue (fibrosarcoma)

Biphasic mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma is formed by the epithelial component and the sarcomatoid component. This is 30% to 40% of mesotheliomas. Mesothelioma treatment solutions do not differ much depending on the different types of cells. However, sarcomatoid mesothelioma is often more difficult to treat because of its spread to the surrounding tissues.

Causes of pleural mesothelioma

The primary cause of pleural mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos (80% of cases), but mesothelioma only develops in 5% of people exposed to asbestos. This shows that exposure to asbestos is not the only reason for cancer. Other less common causes of mesothelioma are radiotherapy and the SV40 virus (the latter has not been confirmed).