Biphasic mesothelioma is the second most common cellular form of this disease, accounting for 20 to 40 percent of all known cases. As the name implies, biphasic mesothelioma is a mixture of two mesothelioma cell types.
Unlike the more common epithelioid type, biphasic mesothelioma cells lack a specific structure. This type of mesothelioma is a mix of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. Whereas the former has a clearly visible nucleus and is found in uniform, organized arrangements and tend to be of a single shape, sarcomatoid cells are more oval or oblong shaped and have no easily identifiable nucleus. Although both mesothelioma types are present in a biphasic tumor, they have a tendency to form in differentiated groups; they are not usually found in the same area of the tumor.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Mesothelioma cancer is exceptionally difficult to diagnose, which is why a mesothelioma diagnosis is usually not made until stage 3 mesothelioma or stage 4 mesothelioma is reached. It is important to confirm a history of asbestos exposure, as mesothelioma symptoms are similar to a wide range of respiratory illnesses.
Mesothelioma doctors usually take an x-ray; if there is cause for concern, the patient is referred to a radiology lab, where more advanced images are taken. If abnormal areas are discovered, a tissue sample, or biopsy is taken to confirm the diagnosis.
A recent test developed by a Japanese biotech company, called MESOMARK™, may help pathologists in diagnosing mesothelioma at an earlier stage, when it is most treatable.
Treatment in most cases is limited to palliative ones, since the disease is usually diagnosed too late for mesothelioma surgery. Mesothelioma is usually treated with a multi-modal therapy involving a combination of radiation and chemotherapy; surgical techniques may be used to relieve the symptoms, but in the later stages are usually not effective in treating the disease.Sources
Dodson, R. and Hammar, S. Asbestos: Risk Assessment, Epidemiology, and Health Effects. (Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis, 2006).
Pass, I., Vogelzang, N., Carbone, M. Malignant Mesothelioma: Advances in Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, and Transitional Therapies. (New York: Springer, 2005.)
Galateau-Salle, Francoise. Pathology of Malignant Mesothelioma. (London: Springer-Verlag London Limited, 2006).
Bruce, W., Robinson, A., & Philippe Chahinian. "Mesothelioma". Informa Health Care, 2002. (ISBN 9058231801)