Malignant biphasic mesothelioma is the second-most-frequent cell type of the disease. The biphasic mesothelioma cell type contains a mix of the other types of mesothelioma cancer cells, epithelial and sarcomatoid. To determine how fast and aggressively the cancer will grow, doctors must determine the ratio of epithelial to sarcomatoid cells. A treatment plan will be specifically tailored for each individual patient based their stage of cancer, personal overall health, and how quickly the cancer is growing. The life expectancy rate for patients with biphasic mesothelioma also depends on the cell ratio. Becoming educated about this specific form of mesothelioma can help patients make important medical decisions regarding their treatment. A majority of pleural mesothelioma patients are classified as biphasic.
What are Biphasic Mesothelioma Characteristics?
In cases of biphasic mesothelioma, cancer cells can reside in close proximity or occur more regularly within clearly separate areas of the cancerous tumor. It is vital for these cell types to be noticed by doctors because there are several treatments that may be specifically targeted at exact cell types.
Biphasic mesothelioma may be hard to detect and diagnose because usually only a small tissue sample is collected during normal biopsy procedures. With such a limited means to search for various cancer cells, it becomes difficult to precisely determine the type and amount of mesothelioma calls involved.
For this reason, doctors often collect samples from numerous parts of the tumor to help determine the specific cell type. Having a precise diagnostic procedure can greatly affect a patient’s treatment and prognosis.
How Do You Diagnosis Biphasic Mesothelioma?
A medical process referred to as immunohistochemistry can better detect certain proteins in cells, which can assist doctors in diagnosing the specific type of atypical cells that are present. This is done to prevent a misdiagnosis and to distinguish biphasic mesothelioma from other diseases.
There are reported cases of biphasic mesothelioma being misdiagnosed based on a biopsy alone. In one study published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, a total of 83 patients were discovered to have this form of mesothelioma only after a surgical procedure that is called an extrapleural pneumonectomy. With a biopsy alone, only 26 percent were originally diagnosed with biphasic mesothelioma. Research has shown that this form of the cancer is more accurately diagnosed following surgery.
The life expectancy of patients diagnosed with the biphasic subtype is an average of only 15 months. Researchers have discovered that if a patient’s tumor has mostly epithelial cells mixed with biphasic cells, then the survival rate is slightly higher by over two weeks. Sarcomatoid cells are less responsive to cancer treatment than epithelial cells. Biphasic patients with a lower number of sarcomatoid cells show more effective results from treatment.