Mesothelioma Cell Types

There are three main mesothelioma cell variations: epithelioid, biphasic and sarcomatoid. Each cell type plays its own role in determining a patient’s prognosis and treatment.

How Cell Type Affects Prognosis and Treatment

Aside from the location and stage of the disease, mesothelioma is also categorized by cell type. There are 3 main cell variations, each with various subtypes. Each cell type has an effect on the prognosis and treatment patients receive. The cellular variations of mesothelioma are the result of genetic mutations of healthy cells caused by asbestos.

Types of Mesothelioma Cells


Epithelioid cells are the most common cell type in cases of mesothelioma. Patients diagnosed with an epithelioid cell type generally have the best life expectancy. It is the most treatable.


Sarcomatoid cells are the least common cell type. Sarcomatoid cells spread more quickly than epithelioid cells. This results in a shorter life expectancy and fewer treatment options.


Biphasic cell types are those which have both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells present. The life expectancy of the patient is better if there are more epithelioid cells and worse if there are more sarcomatoid.

Although the types of treatments offered to patients are primarily based on the location and stage of the cancer, the cell type may have an affect on how aggressive the treatment is likely to be. Variations of mesothelioma are another reason why seeing a specialist and getting a second opinion is so important.