Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma


Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells are the least common types of mesothelioma cells and resistant to cancer therapies. The diagnosis is difficult because the cells can resemble other cancers. The treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and on your general health. In sarcomatoid mesothelioma is characterized by spindle-shaped cells that produce very aggressive and difficult-to-treat tumors. As the rarest form of mesothelioma, only 10 percent of all cases are strictly sarcastic, although sarcomatoid cells are also found in biphasic mesothelioma. Sarcomatous pleural mesothelioma is the most aggressive type of mesothelioma. This type of the mesothelioma is formed by the sarcomatoid cells and is located in the pleura or the lining of the lungs. Sarcomatoid is the least common cell type of mesothelioma and may affect treatment and prognosis.

What is Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma?

Sarcomatoid cells metastasize faster than other mesothelioma cell types, resulting in the formation of cancerous tumors in other areas of the body. This makes sarcoma the most dangerous cell type, although new treatments lead to longer life expectancy. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma accounts for only about 10-15 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is very difficult to diagnose and many patients are initially misdiagnosed.

Not only can sarcoma mesothelioma cells be very rare, but they can also look like healthy tissue, making it even harder to determine if they are malignant. The only way to be sure is to take a tissue sample by biopsy and send it to the lab. These cells appear oblong, spindle-shaped and often form a fiber pattern that resembles a tumor called histiocytoma. Some epithelioid cells may be present in sarcomatoid tumors, but by definition, they must account for less than 10 percent of the tumor mass.

Variants of this form of cancer include transient, lymphohistiocytoid, and desmoplastic mesothelioma. Like most other types of disease, the sarcoma cell type is associated with exposure to asbestos.

Characteristics of Sarcomatoid Cells

Cell Description

The cells are the spindle-shaped and have an enlarged, elongated nucleus. These cells sometimes have multiple nuclei and are more difficult to distinguish from healthy tissue.

Cell Behavior

Sarcomatoid cells do not uniformly bundle like epithelioid cells. This helps cells spread faster than other cell types.

Where it occurs

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma most commonly occurs in the pleural cavity. The lungs are lined with two mesothelial layers that allow the lungs to expand and contract in the chest area. Gradually, asbestos particles trapped in the lining may cause cancerous cells to grow, potentially preventing the lungs from moving freely.

In about 30 to 40 percent of all cases of mesothelioma, sarcoma cells are found with epithelioid cells, a situation called biphasic mesothelioma. This form of mesothelioma occurs most frequently in the abdominal wall (peritoneal mesothelioma) and in the heart mucosa (pericardial mesothelioma).

How it develops

Asbestos exposure is associated with most cases of sarcomatoid mesothelioma. The asbestos type most closely associated with the mesothelioma has small, needle-like fibers which, once inhaled, puncture the lungs and slowly move through the tissue until they are lodged in the lining of the lung.

Once asbestos is in the mesothelioma, it can cause inflammation and cause the cells to mutate, causing cancer.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid Is the Most Aggressive Cell Type

About 10 to 20 percent of pleural mesothelioma and less than 4 percent of peritoneal mesothelioma consist of this type of cell.

  • Associated with asbestos exposure.
  • Tumors appear as nodules or lesions with or without effusion and rarely as localized mass.
  • More resistant to treatment than other cell types.
  • Tumors consist of huge, spindle-shaped cells in fiber bundles.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Subtypes

There are several subtypes of sarcomatoid mesothelioma.


This biphasic (but prominently sarcomatoid) form of the mesothelioma consists mainly of a bundle of immune cells.


This essentially sarcomatoid cell type is called "mild". He is often diagnosed as a benign fibroid.


The rarest of these cell types differ from the tissues in which the cancer is made. For example, bone cells can be found in tumors that do not adhere to the bone.


This mesothelioma cell type is extremely rare and consists of bone cells.


These spindle cells come from cartilage.

Survival and Staging

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma accounts for only five to ten percent of all cases of mesothelioma, and fewer studies have looked at sarcomatoid types than epitheloid or biphasic types. As a result, there are no large studies that can accurately state the survival rates by stages.

The staging of cancer is based on the measurement of tumor size, spread to the lymph nodes and the presence of metastases. For all types of mesothelioma, survival rates range from level 1 at 21 months to level 4 at 12 months. As mentioned earlier, patients diagnosed with sarcomatous tumors are significantly less.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Symptoms and Diagnosis

Sarcomatoid cell types are found in 10-20 percent of pleural mesothelioma and 4 percent of peritoneal mesothelioma diagnoses. They are also found in the bladder, kidney, lung and liver cancers.

The diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma is difficult because of its similarity to benign tissue cells. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed as fibrous pleurisy, fibrosarcoma, and metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Knowing the symptoms of the disease can prepare the patient for what he expects. The symptoms become more intense as tumors spread. The following are some common symptoms of sarcomatous mesothelioma. Most sarcomatoid mesothelioma develops in the pleura (lining of the lung); Other symptoms, however, can occur if they develop in the abdominal wall (peritoneum). In general, the symptoms are more dependent on the location of the tumor than on the mesothelioma cell type. The diagnosis of sarcomatoid pleural mesothelioma is difficult because sarcomatous tumors are often benign and resemble other malignant conditions and an initial misdiagnosis is possible. sarcomatoid tissue samples may look similar to sarcoma tumors and localized pleural tumors under a microscope.

Symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma of the pleura include:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing

Symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma of the peritoneum include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Pain of the abdomen
  • Swelling
Because sarcomatoid cells are so difficult to differentiate from other cell types, physicians use a procedure called immunohistochemistry. This procedure is a tissue staining procedure in which proteins in the cell samples become more visible under a microscope. Diagnosing this type of pleural mesothelioma can also be difficult, as the symptoms of pleural mesothelioma can mimic the symptoms of other less serious respiratory diseases such as pneumonia or asthma.


Persons experiencing symptoms of mesothelioma should seek medical attention immediately. The sooner the doctors can start the diagnostic tests, the better the chances of survival. This is especially true for those who have had asbestos exposure in the past.

Because sarcomatoid cells look similar to healthy tissue, this type of mesothelioma is difficult to diagnose properly. It can easily be mistaken for various sarcomas or other forms of lung cancer. The diagnosis of this type of cell is difficult, as these tumors tend to mimic other benign and malignant conditions in appearance. When the pathologists of examining these tissue samples under a microscope, the cells resemble those of sarcoma tumors and localized fibrous tumors of the pleural. Due to the aggressive nature of this tumor type, the prognosis is not as favorable as with other cell types, and the treatment options are not as rich. The poor survival rates associated with this type of cell make accurate diagnosis even more important.

According to the patient's medical history, the doctor normally arranges imaging examinations, eg. As X-ray images, CT images or MRI. The radiologist examines the images for tumor tissue or other abnormalities that may explain the symptoms. If necessary, additional tests are performed.


Mesothelioma often causes fluid around the lungs. This fluid can be extracted by various methods and then tested for various biomarkers - components that indicate a specific type of disease.

Doctors biopsy the tumor by making a small incision near the tumor. So far the tests have checked if there is a problem. Once they have biopsy material, they can finally find out what type of disease the patient has.


The biopsied tissue provides sufficient information to a pathologist to diagnose the disease. For example, the safest way to distinguish sarcomatoid mesothelioma from different sarcomas is to test the tissue for a substance called cytokeratin. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma tumors express this protein, while the similar-looking sarcomas do not.

They also perform a test called Nuclear Grading. This examines the cell nucleus and compares it to samples of known diseases.

Treatment for Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Given the aggressiveness of sarcomatoid tumors, the prognosis for this cell type is not as favorable as for other cell types, and there are not as many treatment options available.

As with other cell types, the treatment depends on the stage of the cancer and the location of the tumor. This means that a conventional treatment such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy may be options for those patients diagnosed with this cell type. Unfortunately, sarcomatoid cells are more resistant to treatment, especially if diagnosed at later stages.

In particular, the sarcomatoid pleural mesothelioma is difficult to treat surgically because these tumors typically penetrate the chest wall and removal can be difficult and more complicated. Unfortunately, chemotherapy also had limited success in the treatment of sarcoma pleural mesothelioma. The treatment of sarcomatoid cell types is difficult as this is the most aggressive cell type of mesothelioma. Although surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and radiation are the treatment options most commonly used in sarcomatoid mesothelioma, surgery can be difficult.

The sarcomatoid mesothelioma is very rigid when it adheres to the chest wall and is difficult to remove. Peritoneal mesothelioma causes tumors in the intestinal area, which makes the removal of the intestine difficult.

Although chemotherapy is not as successful in shrinking tumors, new discoveries have been made. Researchers have discovered that a drug called doxorubicin is effective alone and in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents.

Surgery is difficult because sarcoma tumors are more difficult to remove than tumors from other cell types and they rapidly metastasize. Chemotherapy has proven to be nearly ineffective because the sarcoma cells are resistant. Radiation therapy relies on the ability to isolate the cancerous area from healthy tissue, something that mesothelioma rarely offer.

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However, if a patient is diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma, supportive and palliative treatment is still available in most cases.

Researchers are working on new and experimental treatments that could prove to be more effective in the future. In immunotherapy removes the some immune cells from the patient and modifies them to attack the mesothelioma. Similarly, viruses are modified to attack the mesothelioma that alters the tumor genes, causing the mesothelioma to die from gene therapy. These new therapies are still in the research phase.

There may be hope for a newer drug called sodium selenite, which has been shown to be more effective chemotherapy for all mesothelioma cell types, including sarcomatoid. Studies have shown that sodium selenite in combination with doxorubicin, an anthracycline antibiotic, has caused apoptosis or cell death. However, no studies have yet been conducted on humans. Another combination of chemotherapy drugs, which has in some cases led to favorable results, is known as CYVADIC chemotherapy, which includes several medications, including cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, also called adriamycin, and dacarbazine, also known as DTIC. However, the response rate is usually low, which is why this therapy is not normally used to treat pleural mesothelioma.


The sarcomatoid cells have proven to the more resistant to treatment than other types of mesothelioma. In particular, the surgery can be difficult because these tumors are very rigid and often grow into the chest wall, making them particularly difficult to remove. In peritoneal tumors, the cancer usually surrounds the soft internal organs of the abdomen, which can make the identification and removal of the primary tumor a challenge.


Chemotherapy also has limited success rates for this type of cell. A case report described an encouraging result using a chemotherapy regimen for the treatment of sarcoma, CYVADIC, containing cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin, and dacarbazine.

Features and Diagnostic Techniques

The pathological examination shows that these tumors form nodules that invade the surrounding tissue, including the fat found in the parietal pleura. Viewed under a microscope, the tissue contains spindle-shaped cells arranged in a random pattern with plump elongated nuclei. The same pattern is common in fibrosarcoma tumors, contributing to misdiagnosis. Sometimes, sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells can have more than one nucleus, which can easily confuse the tumor with a fibrous histiocytoma.

To better distinguish mesothelioma from other cancers, pathologists use a tissue staining technique called immunohistochemistry. This technique improves cell samples with diagnostic markers that respond to certain proteins in tumor tissue. Pathologists can search these reactions under a microscope to make a diagnosis and to determine the cell type of the cancer.

A 2015 study explains that the most useful markers for the diagnosis of mesothelioma are cytokeratin 5/6, podoplanin, WT1 and calretinin. The authors of the study add that sarcomatous tumors may not respond to most markers in a majority of cells, making accurate diagnosis difficult. They conclude that calretinin and podoplanin are more likely to be diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma, but find a large difference between laboratories in the selection of diagnostic markers.


The median survival for patients with sarcomatoid tumors is usually less than six months. However, some patients live longer, depending on factors such as age and general health. Patients with the lymphohistiocytoid variant of this cell type have survived for up to six years, and there are reports of spontaneous tumor remission.

It can be difficult to find clinical trials for sarcomatoid patients. Certain specialty cancer centers, such as the Los Angeles UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, offer programs designed to provide more treatment options and expertise than traditional cancer treatment facilities.

The prognosis for sarcomatoid cell mesothelioma is not as positive as in other cell types. The median survival of the patients is about six months. However, there are patients who have survived for up to six years after their initial diagnosis. Patients with lymphohistiocytic mesothelioma have the best prognosis.

The prognosis of a patient largely depends on the available treatment options and the stage of the cancer in the discovery. Every prognosis, no matter how gloomy, had survival cases. There have been survivors who have been living with mesothelioma for over 5 years after a sarcomatoid mesothelioma diagnosis.



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Mesothelioma Master: Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is very hard to diagnose, and many patients are misdiagnosed at first.This makes sarcomatoid the most dangerous cell type.
Mesothelioma Master
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