Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, as are all other forms of mesothelioma. The malignant tumors caused by biphasic mesothelioma are usually a combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells. 

The symptoms can be quite similar to the other forms of mesothelioma since none of the forms has any particularly special symptom or unique expression of cancer. These symptoms include dry cough, inability to catch breath, and pleural effusion.

Biphasic mesothelioma is occasionally known as “mixed mesothelioma” since it is a mix of the other two main types.

More About Biphasic Mesothelioma

A diagnosis of mesothelioma becomes biphasic when it is shown to contain a combination of the two types of mesothelioma cells: epithelioid cells and sarcomatoid cells. Just like the other two main types of mesothelioma, biphasic is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Due to the nature of biphasic mesothelioma, the prognosis and life expectancy can vary significantly since those often depend on the ratio present of epithelioid cells to sarcomatoid cells.

If there is a larger percentage of sarcomatoid cells, there is a much poorer prognosis. The abundance of sarcomatoid cells is more prevalent in those with pleural mesothelioma than those with peritoneal mesothelioma.

Biphasic mesothelioma is the second most commonly diagnosed type of mesothelioma, accounting for up to twenty percent of the cases diagnosed. Epithelioid mesothelioma is the most common, accounting for nearly 70% of cases at times. 

Whether or not this type of mesothelioma is likely to spread, or metastasize, is dependent on the ratio of epithelioid cells to sarcomatoid cells.

If there is a lower number of sarcomatoid cells, it is more likely to only spread locally, but if the opposite is true, there is a better chance for it to spread to other parts of the body more easily. This is one of the many reasons the prognosis is very hard to pinpoint because the ratio of cells can fluctuate.

Difficulties In Diagnosing Biphasic Mesothelioma

As with all kinds of mesothelioma, it can be incredibly hard to detect early since the symptoms can take decades to present.

Where biphasic mesothelioma is concerned, it can be even more challenging since the location of the tumor and the cell type ratios can affect diagnosis. They can seem to indicate one type, then at a later biopsy, the ratios may have shifted and may be showing a different type.

To correctly diagnose, there may be extensive testing and scans that need to be done, including CT scans, x-rays, and more to find any possible site of tumor or fluid build up in the body. There may also be blood panels that can be done to find particular markers that can help differentiate biphasic mesothelioma from other cancers and illnesses.

The most definitive answers often come with the most invasive procedures. There is nearly 83% accuracy with a thoracotomy, but that involves completely opening the chest cavity to visually inspect the lungs and surroundings.