Sarcomatoid cell types are mainly found in pleural mesothelioma patients. It is the rarest form of mesothelioma and least treatable.
What is Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma?
Characteristics of Sarcomatoid Cells
The cells are spindle-shaped and have an enlarged, elongated nucleus. These cells sometimes have multiple nuclei and are harder to distinguish from healthy tissue.
Sarcomatoid cells do not bundle themselves in a uniform way like epithelioid cells. This contributes to the cells’ ability to spread faster than other cell types.
The diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma is difficult because of the similarity to benign tissue cells. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is commonly misdiagnosed as fibrous pleurisy, fibrosarcoma, and metastasized renal cell carcinoma.
Knowing the symptoms of the disease can prepare patients for what to expect. Symptoms get more intense as tumors begin to spread. Below are some general symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma.
Symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma of the pleura include:
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
Symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma of the peritoneum include:
- Loss of appetite
- Pain of the abdomen
Since sarcomatoid cells are so hard to differentiate from other cell types, doctors use a process called immunohistochemistry. This process is a tissue staining technique that makes proteins in the cell samples more visible under a microscope.
Subtypes of Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma
- Behaves like standard sarcomatoid cell types
- Plump, spindle-shaped
- Contain a large amount of inflammatory and immune cells (1% of all diagnoses)
- Large, spindle-shaped
- Difficult to diagnose, patternless (5% of all diagnoses)
- Long and collagen bundles
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is very rigid when it attaches to the chest wall and it is difficult to remove. In peritoneal mesothelioma instances, the tumor cases around the intestines which also makes it harder to remove.
Although chemotherapy does not show as much success in shrinking tumors, there have been new discoveries made. Researchers have found that a drug called selenite has proven effective for all cancers when used in combination with doxorubicin.
Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is difficult to treat, but with new advances, researchers hope to see survival rates increase over the next few years. Get connected with a mesothelioma specialist who can help improve your survival rate.
A patient’s prognosis is largely dependent upon available treatment options and the cancer’s stage at discovery. Every prognosis, no matter how dire, has had cases of survival. There have been survivors living with mesothelioma for 5+ years after a sarcomatoid mesothelioma diagnosis.
Learn how survivors beat the odds in our free Mesothelioma Survivor’s Guide.