Malignant Mesothelioma

What is Malignant Mesothelioma?

Malignant Mesothelioma is a atypical kind of cancer. The mesothelioma is the lining, which covers the internal organs present in the chest and abdominal cavity. Any malignant cell development in this lining is termed as Malignant Mesothelioma.

This type of malignancy is developed due to abnormal growth in the cell.

  • Depending upon the location, the mesothelioma has various name:
  • The lining which coats the lungs and the hollow chest cavity, where the lungs are located is termed as pleura
  • The lining which covers the abdominal cavity or abdominal organs are termed as peritoneum.
  • The chest cavity which holds the heart and the outer covering of the heart is termed as pericardium.
  • The testicles are covered by tunica vaginalis

The cancerous cell growth is mainly observed in these four sites and the most common location is pleura. (1, 2)


A) Cancer Cells

Malignant Mesothelioma is classified into three categories depending upon the arrangement of the cancerous cells.

They are:

a. Epithelioid

Most of the malignant mesothelioma is epithelioid type (almost 50% to 60%) and it provides a better prognosis in contrast with other types.

b. Sarcomatoid

Very less amount ( almost 10%) of Malignant Mesothelioma develops in fibrous (sarcomatoid) cells and therefore, it termed as Sarcomatoid Malignant Mesothelioma.

c. Mixed

The type of Malignant Mesothelioma comprises both the types (epithelioid and sarcomatoid ) of Malignant Mesothelioma. The remaining cases (about 30% to 40%) are mixed or biphasic Malignant Mesothelioma.

B) Location

Depending upon the malignant location, Malignant Mesothelioma is further classified as:

a. Pleural Mesothelioma: 

When the lung lining or hollow chest cavity lining is affected, then it terms as Pleural mesothelioma

b. Pericardial mesothelioma:

The lining of the heart when affected with Malignant Mesothelioma is termed as Pericardial mesothelioma.

c. Peritoneal mesothelioma:

Abdominal cavity wall when affected with malignant mesothelioma, then it is termed as Peritoneal mesothelioma. (1,2)


In majority of the cases of malignant mesothelioma is associated with fluid accumulation in the chest or abdominal cavity. Due to the accumulation of the fluid, the following symptoms are developed:

Survival rate

Malignant mesothelioma is a too much aggressive in nature and usually the survival rate after diagnosing the disease, it near about one to two years. But it is not same in every case. Staging and type of the malignancy is a very important factor in considering the survival rate, like epithelioid malignant mesothelioma provides better outcomes than other types.

Other considerable factors are the age of the patient, general health condition of the patient, the treatment response, the compliance of the therapy and the choice of the treatment plan.

Usually the malignant mesothelioma is diagnosed at advanced stage due to delay onset of symptoms and the symptomatic approach is more generalized, the consideration of the seriousness is understandable at very late stage. Therefore, the time gap between detection and duration of survival is very less due to scope of treatment is very less.

Five year survival rate

Usually when a patient asked about survival statistics, the most common answer given by the doctor is ‘ 5 year survival rate’. Though this is a rough estimated amount, the patient can live more or less depending upon the consideration of the above mentioned factors.

According to the National Cancer institute, 5 to 10% malignant mesothelioma patient survive for approximately 5 years after detection of their disease. This duration is more for younger aged patients.

Also read – Life Insurance for Cancer Patients

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), who conduct the statistical estimation of the  5-year survival rate of the malignant mesothelioma, the following result had declared by them:

  • 5-year survival rate obtained in 44.2% patients, when the age of the patient is ≤ 45 years,

  • 5-year survival rate obtained in 15.6% patients, when the age of the patient in between 45 – 54 years,

  • 5-year survival rate obtained in 15.9 % patients, when the age of the patient is < 65 years,

  • 5-year survival rate obtained in 5.1 % patients, when the age of the patient is >65 years.

The survival rate is also depends upon the spreading of the malignancy and involved organs rather than the success of the surgical removal of the malignant tissue.

Median Survival Time

One of the largest international study considering the surgical case in malignant mesothelioma and estimates the median survival time.

According to this report, it is calculated that, median survival time for stage I of malignant mesothelioma is 21 months, for stage II of malignant mesothelioma is 19 months, stage III of malignant mesothelioma is 16 months and stage IV of malignant mesothelioma is 12 months. (4,5,6)


The prognosis depends on the opted treatment plan. Often the better result is obtained by taking combination therapy and participating in the advanced clinical trials. The factors which influence patient survival also affects the prognosis of the treatment. But following additional factors may improve the prognosis rate:

Treatment center and the expert team

The prognosis can influence by the treatment center and the expert team. If the treatment center is equipped with all the modern cancer facilities with experienced and skilled healthcare team, then it is expected that more tailored treatment pan they can propose to the patient, which can provide a better response.

Alternative treatment plan

If facility permits that patient can take another treatment plan from a different expert oncologist, many times if the first treatment plan fails to achieve the sufficient better response, then the second opinion will provide better results.

Participation in clinical trial

Malignant mesothelioma is a very rare type of cancerous growth and vast treatment option is not established yet. The pharmaceutical and medical research tries to invent more advance treatment for malignant mesothelioma. Therefore, encouragement of the patient to participate in such clinical trials may get better treatment as accessibility of novel therapy will open for them. This will also helpful for advancement of the therapeutic approach for future.

Also read – Life Insurance for Cancer Patients

Attainment of the healthy lifestyle

Following healthy lifestyle, such as balance diet, proper nutritional intake, physical exercise can improve the immune system, which help to act against cancerous growth, limits the development of the side effects of the provided treatment and provide improved quality of life of the patient. (5,6)


  1. Malignant Mesothelioma; Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance at; Retrieve from:
  2. Malignant Mesothelioma (2015); American Cancer Society; Retrieve from:
  3. Malignant Mesothelioma Treatment–Patient Version (PDQ®) (2015); National Cancer Institute; Retrieve from:
  4. Malignant Mesothelioma (2015); American Cancer Society; Retrieve from:
  5. Mesothelioma Prognosis; Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance at; Retrieve from:
  6. Mesothelioma Prognosis; Retrieve from:

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