Mesothelioma Histology Images: Understanding the Disease

Greetings dear readers,

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease occurs in the mesothelial cells that line the lungs, stomach, heart, and other organs of the body. It is a challenging cancer to diagnose and treat due to its non-specific symptoms and long latency period. The use of histology images has become a vital tool in the diagnosis and management of mesothelioma. In this article, we will delve deep into mesothelioma histology images and their role in understanding the disease.

The Basics of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a malignant tumor that develops in the mesothelial cells. These cells produce a lubricating fluid that enables organs like the lungs, heart, and abdomen to move smoothly against each other. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they get trapped in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart, causing irritation and inflammation. Over time, the inflammation leads to the development of malignant mesothelioma.

There are three main types of mesothelioma:

Type Description
Pleural Mesothelioma Develops in the lining of the lungs and accounts for 75% of all mesothelioma cases.
Peritoneal Mesothelioma Develops in the lining of the abdomen and accounts for 20% of all mesothelioma cases.
Pericardial Mesothelioma Develops in the lining of the heart and accounts for less than 1% of all mesothelioma cases.

How are Mesothelioma Histology Images Used?

When mesothelioma is suspected, a biopsy is performed to remove a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope. A pathologist who specializes in diagnosing cancer examines the biopsy sample and looks for abnormal cells. The pathologist will then create mesothelioma histology images to confirm the diagnosis and determine the subtype of the cancer.

Mesothelioma histology images can also be used to determine the stage of the cancer. The stage of mesothelioma refers to the extent of the cancer spread in the body. Staging is crucial for determining the appropriate treatment options.

Additionally, mesothelioma histology images can help doctors determine if the patient’s mesothelioma is the epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or biphasic subtype. Different subtypes of mesothelioma have different characteristics and respond differently to treatments.

Mesothelioma Histology Images: What Do They Look Like?

Mesothelioma histology images are images of the cancer cells taken from a biopsy or tissue sample. They are examined under a microscope by a pathologist. The images show the size, shape, and arrangement of the cancer cells. Mesothelioma cells can appear in several different shapes:


Epithelioid mesothelioma cells look like normal epithelial cells, which are the cells that line organs like the lungs and abdomen. These cells are the most common type of mesothelioma cells, and they tend to grow slowly. They are also the most responsive to treatment.


Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells look like normal connective tissue cells. These cells are less common than epithelioid cells, and they tend to grow more quickly. They are also less responsive to treatment.


Biphasic mesothelioma is a mixture of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. This subtype of mesothelioma tends to have characteristics of both subtypes, and its prognosis is determined by the percentage of each cell type present.

FAQs about Mesothelioma Histology Images

What is histology?

Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy of tissues. It involves the examination of tissues under a microscope to determine their structure and function.

What is a biopsy?

A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue from the body for examination under a microscope. It is a common procedure used to diagnose cancer.

How are mesothelioma histology images taken?

Mesothelioma histology images are taken by a pathologist who examines a sample of tissue removed during a biopsy under a microscope.

What is the difference between pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma?

Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs, while peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdomen.

What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?

The symptoms of mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, abdominal pain, and weight loss.

What causes mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction and industry until the 1980s.

Can mesothelioma be cured?

Currently, there is no cure for mesothelioma. However, treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy can help manage the disease.

What is the prognosis for mesothelioma?

The prognosis for mesothelioma depends on the stage and subtype of the cancer, as well as the patient’s overall health. Mesothelioma has a poor prognosis, with a five-year survival rate of around 10%.

What are the treatment options for mesothelioma?

The treatment options for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Other treatments, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy, are also being researched.

What are the side effects of mesothelioma treatment?

The side effects of mesothelioma treatment can vary depending on the type of treatment. Common side effects include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss, and changes in appetite.

Can mesothelioma be prevented?

Mesothelioma can be prevented by avoiding exposure to asbestos. If you work in an industry with a higher risk of asbestos exposure, it is important to take proper safety precautions and follow established guidelines.

What should I do if I think I have mesothelioma?

If you think you have mesothelioma, you should see a doctor immediately. Your doctor can perform tests and determine if you have mesothelioma or another medical condition.

How can I support someone with mesothelioma?

You can support someone with mesothelioma by being there for them and offering emotional support. You can also help with practical tasks, such as transportation to medical appointments or preparing meals.


In conclusion, mesothelioma histology images are an essential tool in the diagnosis and management of mesothelioma. Histology images can help pathologists confirm the diagnosis, determine the subtype and stage of the cancer, and select the most appropriate treatment options. By understanding mesothelioma histology images, you can be better informed about this disease and its treatment options.

We encourage all our readers to take asbestos exposure seriously and to take precautions to reduce their risk of mesothelioma. Early detection is crucial to successful treatment outcomes. If you suspect you have been exposed to asbestos, seek medical attention immediately. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice. If you think you have mesothelioma or any other medical condition, please see a doctor immediately.