Mesothelioma is a challenging disease to understand. The cancer is rare, largely unheard of, and doesn’t form on any well-known organs or body parts like the liver or brain.

Most mesothelioma patients don’t have medical backgrounds, so words like “epithelioid” and “sarcomatoid” sound like a foreign language.

However, people with this cancer should be knowledgeable about their diagnosis. They’ll have a better understanding of their prognosis, treatment options and more. Even the loved ones of patients should take time to research the differences between the three cell types.

We at Mesothelioma Guide created a quiz to help patients and their loved ones test their knowledge of mesothelioma. Our first exam covered the three types of mesothelioma (pleural, peritoneal and pericardial). The one below quizzes your understanding of the three cell types.

The one below covers the cellular differences. Answer each question by identifying whether it pertains to epithelioid, sarcomatoid or biphasic mesothelioma. Then check your answers with the correct ones at the bottom.


Questions About Mesothelioma Cells

Question #1: Of the three mesothelioma cell types, which is the most common?

Question #2: Which cellular type of mesothelioma is a mixture of the other two?

Question #3: Which mesothelioma cell has a long, spindle-shaped appearance?

Question #4: Between 10% and 20% of mesothelioma cases are diagnosed as which cell type?

Question #5: Which cell type clumps together and has an elongated egg shape with a pink cytoplasm?

Question #6: Of the three, which cell type usually has the best prognosis?

Question #7: Which cell type must undergo a biological transition into a mesenchymal cell?

Question #8: Treatment options can vary depending on the cell type for a patient. Which cell is most difficult to remove during surgery?

Question #9: Which cell type comprises between 20% and 30% of mesothelioma cases?

Question #10: Which cell type is associated with connective tissue (bones and cartilage)?


Answers to Mesothelioma Cells Quiz

Once you’ve answered each of the 10 questions, read the answers below and see how well you did.

Answer #1: Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common of the three cell types. This diagnosis comprises between 50% and 70% of all cases.

Answer #2: Biphasic mesothelioma involves a mixture of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. As long as at least 10% of each cell type is included in the disease’s makeup, then the diagnosis is biphasic.

Answer #3: Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells have a long, spindle-shaped look.

Answer #4: Sarcomatoid mesothelioma comprises between 10% and 20% of cases. It’s the least common diagnosis.

Answer #5: Epithelioid mesothelioma cells are easily recognizable, with a pink cytoplasm and egg shape.

Answer #6: Since epithelioid cells are easiest to find, the cell type is also easiest to treat.

Answer #7: All mesothelioma cells begin as epithelial cells. However, sarcomatoid cells must transition from epithelial to mesenchymal. This process occurs before the cells become cancerous.

Answer #8: Since sarcomatoid cells are long and narrow. They also can have multiple nuclei and don’t clump together. For these reasons, the cells are tougher to locate and remove during surgery.

Answer #9: Biphasic mesothelioma comprises between 20% and 30% of cases. It’s more common than sarcomatoid mesothelioma but far less common than epithelioid mesothelioma.

Answer #10: Mesenchymal cells are related to the body’s connective tissue, and these cells are called “sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells” once they become cancerous.


Your Mesothelioma Quiz Results

How well did you know the three mesothelioma cell types? Count your correct answers and correlate it to our outline below:

If you answered every question correctly: You quite knowledgeable of this rare disease. Forget Mesothelioma 101; you just graduated past Mesothelioma 102 and 103.

If you correctly answered between six and nine questions: You have a solid grasp of this disease. Your results indicate you’re well on your way to becoming a mesothelioma expert.

If you answered fewer than six questions correct: You have more to learn, but don’t worry. This subject matter is difficult to grasp for many patients, and you might be newly diagnosed or just beginning your research.

We can help you become more knowledgeable about mesothelioma. Our website includes all the information you’ll need about how and where mesothelioma forms, symptoms, treatment options and more.

If you want all the information in an easy-to-digest resource, our Complete Mesothelioma Guide book is available free of charge. You can request the book online or email our registered nurse and patient advocate, Jenna Campagna, at for a list of all our patient resources.

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    Sources & Author

  1. About Malignant Mesothelioma. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: Accessed: 10/01/19.
  2. Epithelioid Cell. ScienceDirect. Retrieved from: Accessed: 10/04/19.
  3. Malignant mesothelioma. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. Retrieved from: Accessed: 10/04/19.
  4. What Is a Soft Tissue Sarcoma?. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: Accessed: 04/17/19.
  5. Life Expectancy in Pleural and Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Lung Cancer International. Retrieved from: Accessed: 10/11/19.
  6. The basics of epithelial-mesenchymal transition. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: Accessed: 04/17/19.
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About the Writer, Devin Golden

Devin Golden is the content writer for Mesothelioma Guide. He produces mesothelioma-related content on various mediums, including the Mesothelioma Guide website and social media channels. Devin's objective is to translate complex information regarding mesothelioma into informative, easily absorbable content to help patients and their loved ones.