Researchers Identify New Characteristics for Long-Term Mesothelioma Prognosis

Though malignant pleural mesothelioma is a fatal condition, some patients fare far better than others and are able to survive for extended periods of time, with some living longer than five years after diagnosis. A group of researchers from the University of Helsinki set out to determine what histopathologic factors of these patients’ tumors might set them apart so that they could be used to provide more accurate prognostic information. 

Tumor Study Reveals Significant Histopathologic Differences

Though malignant mesothelioma is a rare disease, scientists have been able to identify numerous subtypes, and have used this information to forecast patient survival times. The most common subtype of mesothelioma is epithelioid, and patients with this subtype tend to have the longest survival time. But even within this group there is a subset of patients who live longer, and the researchers set out to study their tumors to determine whether there were differences within their cells.

The researchers analyzed 43 tumors removed from patients classified as long-term mesothelioma survivors and compared them to 84 tumors removed from patients considered to have lived for an average period of time. Analysis revealed differences in both the growth pattern of the tumor cells and in the cells’ nuclear grade, which is an evaluation of the tumor cell’s nucleus specific to its size, shape, and the percentage of its cells that are in the process of dividing or growing. 

Nuclear Grade and Growth Pattern of Mesothelioma Cells Provide Survival Information

It had previously been known that cancers with low nuclear grade grow and spread less quickly than those with high nuclear grades, and the evaluation of the cells among the mesothelioma patients was in keeping with that previous understanding. The researchers found that the cells that had the highest amount of asbestos fiber also had the highest nuclear grades, and shorter survival time. In concluding their study, the researchers wrote of their hopes that this information would be helpful for physicians hoping to provide accurate information to their patients, writing, “These results may aid in estimating DMM prognosis.”

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, getting accurate information is essential. For the resources you need, contact the Patient Advocates at today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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