Epithelioid Mesothelioma Cells
Epithelioid cells are the most common type of mesothelioma cell and the easiest to treat. These cells are characterized by their defined, uniform appearance, a single nucleus, and their slower growth patterns.
Epithelial Cells and Mesothelioma
Epithelial cells divide quickly but also lump together, building upon themselves as they spread through the body. Researchers estimate that more than half of mesothelioma cases are caused by epithelioid cells.
Epithelioid cells are often treated using a multimodal approach that combines surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. However, not all patients with epithelioid mesothelioma qualify for the multimodal approach, and you may be referred to chemotherapy or clinical trials instead.
Epithelioid Cell Subtypes
Mesothelioma specialists classify epithelioid cells into special classifications and behaviors.
Epithelioid cell subtypes include:
Recognized by its origins within the body’s glands, adenomatoid or glandular mesothelioma is a rare subtype of epithelioid mesothelioma. Adenomatoid cells usually begin in a patient’s genital glands and spread from there. However, they can also appear sporadically in other parts of the body.
To further complicate matters, adenomatoid cells can be either benign or malignant, making it hard for doctors to determine the severity of cancer. Adenomatoid cells don’t always involve mesothelium tissue, which means it’s possible to have malignant adenomatoid cells that aren’t mesothelioma.
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With fewer than 200 cases of cystic mesothelioma reported worldwide, the global understanding of this epithelioid subtype is fairly limited. Fortunately, cystic mesothelioma is benign (non-cancerous) and highly unlikely to become malignant (cancerous). In fact, cystic mesothelioma has only resulted in 1 reported death and may have the highest survival rate of all mesothelioma types.
Deciduoid cells are recognized by their large polygon or oval shapes and well-defined borders. These cells are often a particularly aggressive epithelioid subtype.
Papillary/Well-Differentiated Papillary Mesothelioma
Papillary mesothelioma, also referred to as well-differentiated papillary mesothelioma (WDPM), is a rare form of benign mesothelioma. Papillary mesothelioma often isn’t linked to asbestos exposure, which makes it a unique and intriguing form of mesothelioma.
In addition, there is no clear treatment for papillary mesothelioma, although surgery, chemotherapy or radiation are all potential options.
Small cells are most commonly found in the abdomen but can also occur in the heart and lungs. Small cells can also be found in several types of cancer unrelated to mesothelioma.
Because mesothelioma cases are so rare, scientists are still trying to determine whether mesothelioma small cells behave the same as they do in lung cancer, lymphoma, and other conditions.