Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid cells are mostly found when a patient has pleural mesothelioma. Among all the forms of mesothelioma, this type is the most difficult to treat and it’s the rarest.

These cells are going to spread much quicker than any other mesothelioma cell types. They will be responsible for causing tumors inside of your body. It is very dangerous but there are a number of treatments that are making their way into the medical industry all of the time. They are helping people live longer. Only 5-10% of the mesothelioma cases that are reported are sarcomatoid mesothelioma.


Cell Description – The cells are spindle-shaped and have a large and elongated nucleus. They are hard to distinguish from healthy tissue and sometimes have more than one nuclei.

Cell Behavior – The sarcomatoid cell does not bundle together in a uniform manner like epithelioid cells do. This is what causes them to spread faster than other cell types.


These cells are found in around 20% of pleural mesothelioma diagnoses and 4 or 5% of peritoneal mesothelioma diagnoses.

It is hard to diagnose this cancer because it is so similar to healthy tissue. In many cases this type of mesothelioma will be misdiagnosed as other conditions such as fibrous pleurisy or even renal cell carcinoma.

If you know the symptoms you will know what you should expect. The symptoms may also get worse as the tumors get larger and spread.

Symptoms in the pleura may include:

  • Losing weight
  • Being tired
  • Having a hard time breathing
  • Having shortness of breath

Symptoms in the peritoneum may include:

  • Not being hungry
  • Feeling nauseated
  • Having pain in the abdomen
  • Swelling

Immunohistochemistry is often used by doctors because it is hard to tell these cells apart from other cells that are healthy. Proteins in the cells will be more visible under the microscope when this process is used.

About Cell Types

Cell Types of Mesothelioma

Learn about the other two cell types of mesothelioma and how they can be addressed and possibly treated.

Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Learn about this most common cell type of mesothelioma.

Learn more

Biphasic Mesothelioma

This type is a combination of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells.

Learn more

Subtypes of Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Transitional Mesothelioma

  • Similar to regular sarcomatoid cells
  • They will be plump
  • Shaped like a spindle

Lymphohistiocytoid Mesothelioma

  • Will find a large number of cells that are immune or inflamed
  • Only 1% of diagnoses
  • Large and shaped like a spindle

Desmoplastic Mesothelioma

  • Hard to diagnose
  • No pattern
  • Only accounts for 5% of diagnoses
  • Long collagen bundles


Treatment for sarcomatoid cell types may be very difficult because it is extremely aggressive and spreads so quickly. Even though professionals can use surgery along with radiation and even chemotherapy, it is important to realize that surgery is not going to be easy.

This is because this type of mesothelioma is very hard to remove when it has attached to the wall of your chest. When peritoneal mesothelioma is found, the tumor will often be found around the intestines and it becomes that much harder to remove.

Chemotherapy may not shrink the tumors but there are a number of different drugs that have been found to be effective. For example, selenite is effective for different cancers when it is used with doxorubicin.


Sarcomatoid cell mesothelioma does not have as positive a prognosis as other cell types. Most patients will live for about six months. However, there are some patients that have lived for up to six years.

When you consider the prognosis you should think about the stage that the cancer is in as well as where it is located, and the treatment options. Each person is different and some patients have been known to live for several years after they have been diagnosed.

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