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Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma, also called mixed mesothelioma, is a disease directly related to asbestos exposure. It is a type of cancer that contains a combination of two types of cancer cells: epithelioid and sarcomatoid.

Biphasic mesothelioma accounts for about 15% to 20% of all malignant pleural mesothelioma cases. It is the second-most common cell type behind epithelioid. The prognosis for biphasic mesothelioma can vary drastically based on the ratio of different cells present. Learning more about this condition can help you understand what to expect as a patient. Learn more about biphasic mesothelioma, as well as your legal options, with help from a knowledgeable mesothelioma lawyer in New York.


Biphasic Mesothelioma Resources


What Is Biphasic Mesothelioma?

Biphasic mesothelioma is one of the three cell types found in patients with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer most often connected to asbestos exposure. Particles of asbestos can become lodged internally, such as in the membranes that line the organs. Over time, these particles can cause enough irritation to create scar tissue, which can then turn into cancerous or noncancerous tumors.

The three mesothelioma cell types are epithelioid, sarcomatoid and biphasic. Biphasic is a combination of the first two cell types. Different cell types will respond to different treatments. Therefore, it is important for a doctor to correctly diagnose the cell type based on the traits of the cell.

Biphasic mesothelioma cells are identifiable by the presence of both other cell types. They will contain cells with well-defined shapes and nuclei (epithelioid cells) as well as oblong-shaped cells with nuclei that are not as defined (sarcomatoid cells). Typically, the two types of cells will not exist together but will form arrangements in different parts of the same tumor. Sarcomatoid cells tend to divide and spread, while epithelioid are more likely to stay together.

There are also four different types of mesothelioma depending on where it exists within the body: pleural (the lining of the lungs), peritoneal (the abdomen), pericardial (the heart) and testicular (the testes). All of these types of mesothelioma may have the biphasic cell type.

Biphasic Mesothelioma Prognosis

The prognosis for a patient with biphasic mesothelioma depends on the ratio of epithelioid to sarcomatoid cells. Epithelioid cells are easier to treat, while sarcomatoid cells are more difficult. If a patient with biphasic mesothelioma has a greater number of epithelioid cells, therefore, his or her prognosis would most likely be more positive than a patient with a higher ratio of sarcomatoid cells. Each case and patient, however, is unique.

Due to the large potential difference in prognoses for patients with biphasic mesothelioma, no average prognosis exists. Some studies have suggested a life expectancy of one year for patients with biphasic mesothelioma, while others have given it a range of six months to over five years.

In general, a patient with epithelioid mesothelioma will survive for around two years, while someone with sarcomatoid mesothelioma has a prognosis of six months. A patient with biphasic may expect a prognosis between these two, but he or she may also live longer. The answer depends on the individual patient, the specifics of the disease, and his or her response to treatments.

What Are the Symptoms of Biphasic Mesothelioma?

The symptoms of biphasic mesothelioma will depend on the type of mesothelioma diagnosed. With pleural mesothelioma – cancer of the lining of the lungs – a patient may notice more upper-body symptoms, such as:

  • Effusion (a buildup of fluid) in the chest
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest or lower back pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Fever

With biphasic peritoneal mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the abdomen), a patient may experience the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Fluid or feeling of fullness in the abdomen
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Constipation

Symptoms differ from patient to patient. Some patients may experience all of these symptoms, while others may notice only one or two. A patient may not experience the symptoms of biphasic mesothelioma for several years to several decades after asbestos exposure. This is because asbestos particles can take a long time to irritate the tissues enough to form malignant tumors.

How Is Biphasic Mesothelioma Diagnosed?

A correct diagnosis of biphasic mesothelioma requires imaging tests to detect any visible tumors or excess fluid inside the body. Typical tests administered include x-rays, CT scans and MRIs. If a doctor detects tumors, he or she will take a biopsy to send in for further analysis.

A pathologist will examine the sample under a microscope to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis, as well as to differentiate biphasic mesothelioma from the other two cell types. From there, the doctor will investigate further to determine the stage of the cancer based on how much it has metastasized. A patient’s mesothelioma diagnosis will determine the appropriate treatments.

Biphasic Mesothelioma Treatment

Most patients diagnosed with biphasic mesothelioma undergo multimodal treatments with three different phases: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. First, the patient undergoes surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and as much of the surrounding tissue as is safely possible. Then, the patient will receive chemotherapy and other types of radiation therapies to destroy any remaining cancer cells.

A patient with advanced-stage biphasic mesothelioma may only receive palliative treatments to ease his or her symptoms. Treatments for malignant mesothelioma are always to reduce symptoms and lengthen the patient’s life, not to cure the cancer. A qualified specialist will design the right treatment plan for a patient based on the patient’s unique circumstances.

Biphasic Mesothelioma FAQ

Q: What causes biphasic mesothelioma?

A: Exposure to asbestos is the most common cause of all forms of mesothelioma, including biphasic mesothelioma. You may be able to prevent biphasic mesothelioma by avoiding known sources of asbestos, such as certain building materials or products that have been connected to cases. If you must work around asbestos, make sure your employer provides the proper protective gear.

Q: Can you recover from biphasic mesothelioma?

A: Currently, there is no known cure for malignant biphasic mesothelioma. It is a terminal form of cancer. However, research and clinical trials are ongoing in the hopes of ultimately finding a cure for mesothelioma and other health conditions related to asbestos exposure. There are also treatments available that can enhance a patient’s prognosis.

Q: Can you file a lawsuit if you have biphasic mesothelioma?

A: If someone caused or contributed to your development of biphasic mesothelioma, that person may owe you financial compensation. If a product manufacturer did not warn you that an item may contain asbestos, for example, it could be liable for your losses. Consult with a mesothelioma attorney for more information about your rights as a patient with biphasic mesothelioma.

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