The differential diagnosis between pleural sarcomatoid mesothelioma and spindle cell/pleomorphic (sarcomatoid) carcinomas of the lung: evidence-based guidelines from the International Mesothelioma Panel and the MESOPATH National Reference Center.


Journal Article (Review)

Immunohistochemistry is used to distinguish sarcomatoid malignant mesotheliomas (SMM) from spindle cell and pleomorphic carcinomas (SPC) but there are no guidelines on how to interpret cases that show overlapping or equivocal immunohistochemical findings. A systematic literature review of the immunophenotype of these lesions was performed and the experience with 587 SMM and 46 SPC at MESOPATH was collected. Data were analyzed with Comprehensive Meta-Analysis 2.0 software (Biostat, Englewood, NJ). There were insufficient data to evaluate the differential diagnosis between SPC and localized SMM or peritoneal SMM. Meta-analysis showed considerable overlap in the immunophenotype of these neoplasms and significant data heterogeneity amongst many of the results. Survival data from MESOPATH patients showed no significant differences in overall survival between SMM and SPC patients. Best available evidence was used to formulate several evidence-based guidelines for the differential diagnosis between pleural SMM and SPC. These guidelines emphasize the need to correlate the histopathological findings with clinical and imaging information. Diffuse SMM can be diagnosed with certainty in the presence of malignant spindle cell pleural lesions showing immunoreactivity for cytokeratin and mesothelial markers and negative staining for epithelial markers. Criteria for the interpretation of various other combinations of immunoreactivity for cytokeratin and mesothelial and/or epithelial markers are proposed. Localized sarcomatoid mesotheliomas can only be diagnosed in the presence of spindle cell malignancies that exhibit immunoreactivity for cytokeratin and mesothelial markers and negative immunoreactivity for epithelial lesions, in patients that show no multifocal or diffuse pleural spread and no evidence for extrapleural lesions.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Marchevsky, AM; LeStang, N; Hiroshima, K; Pelosi, G; Attanoos, R; Churg, A; Chirieac, L; Dacic, S; Husain, A; Khoor, A; Klebe, S; Lantuejoul, S; Roggli, V; Vignaud, J-M; Weynard, B; Sauter, J; Henderson, D; Nabeshima, K; Galateau-Salle, F

Published Date

  • September 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 67 /

Start / End Page

  • 160 - 168

PubMed ID

  • 28782639

Pubmed Central ID

  • 28782639

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1532-8392

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.humpath.2017.07.015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States