What Is Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma?
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma describes a type of malignant mesothelioma tumor that is made up of the sarcomatoid cells.
Malignant mesothelioma tumors may have one of the following cell types:
- Sarcomatoid: The least common mesothelioma cell type is sarcomatoid. It is also the most difficult to treat.
- Epithelial: The most common and treatable cell type of mesothelioma is epithelial (also called epithelioid).
- Biphasic: A mixture of the two cell types, biphasic mesothelioma’s rarity falls somewhere between sarcomatoid and epithelial.
Like the other mesothelioma cells, the only known cause of sarcomatoid mesothelioma is asbestos exposure.
Sarcomatoid cells are shaped like a spindle, similar to a long cylinder. Instead of remaining in place, sarcomatoid cells tend to move around the body easily and quickly, leading to earlier distant metastases.
Metastasis is the spread of cancer to distant parts of the body. Once the spread occurs, mesothelioma becomes harder to treat.
In addition to spreading easily, sarcomatoid cells look like other tissue cells, often leading to a misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis allows the aggressive sarcomatoid mesothelioma to advance rapidly before a correct diagnosis can be confirmed and doctors can treat the cancer.
Quick Facts About Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
- According to the American Cancer Society, about 10%-20% of mesothelioma cases are sarcomatoid. They are usually pleural.
- According to a 2015 study published in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology, sarcomatoid peritoneal mesothelioma is extremely rare, with under 30 cases ever reported.
- The same American Journal of Surgical Pathology study found that the median age of diagnosis for sarcomatoid peritoneal mesothelioma was 66.
- According to the same study, the average patient lifespan from the time of diagnosis was only 5 months.