Types of Mesothelioma

Types of Mesothelioma

Classified by Where Tumor Occurs

Mesotheliomas can develop in different parts of the body.  Each of the organs that this tumor invades is lined by the same type of mesothelial cells.  These special cells line the lungs, the abdomen, and the sac that surrounds the heart.  These are the areas where these cancerous tumors develop.  Each type of mesothelioma has a special name.  Both the symptoms and treatment options vary depending on the type of mesothelioma.

About 75% of cases are pleural mesothelioma.  This is the type that develops in the lining of the lungs which is called the pleura.  Another 10 to 20% of cases are called peritoneal mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity, or peritoneum.  Very rarely, mesothelioma may also develop in the pericardial lining of the heart.

Classification by Cell Type

Mesothelioma can also be classified by the type of cancer cell.  The cell type may be epithelial, sarcomatoid, or a mix of the two, known as biphasic.  The majority of mesotheliomas are epithelial, and the epithelial type is somewhat easier to treat.

It is also important to note that there are some benign tumors of the mesothelium.  These tumors are typically removed by surgery with no further treatment.

Treatment Depends on Type of Mesothelioma

The treatment a patient receives will depend on the type of mesothelioma that has been diagnosed.  Treating physicians will also determine the stage of the disease as this also has important implications as far as treatment options are concerned.