Doctors in China recently came across a rare case of primary sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma of the liver.
This disease is a type of malignant mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Primary sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma is hard for doctors to diagnose because it is so rare. Doctors also don’t know very much about how it develops or how to treat it.
When a person goes to the hospital with symptoms that could be caused by mesothelioma, there are a few different ways to get a diagnosis. Doctors will usually use imaging tests, tissue biopsies, and fluid tests to reach a diagnosis.
Diagnosing a Rare Case
In this case, a 69-year-old man went to the hospital because he had been having pain in his upper abdomen for two months. The doctors did an MRI scan and found a strange shadow in his liver.
They ran more tests to find out what the strange shadow could be. The doctors thought he might have liver cancer. However, tests for tumor markers showed normal results.
When the doctors looked at the tumor cells under a microscope, they found that they looked strange and were growing very quickly. They used some special tests to figure out what kind of cancer it was and found out that it was primary sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma of the liver.
There are three cell types for malignant mesothelioma. About half of malignant mesotheliomas are of the epithelioid cell type and tend to have a better prognosis than the other cell types. About 10% of mesotheliomas are sarcomatoid, which have the worst prognosis. And the remaining 30% to 40% of malignant mesotheliomas are made up of both epithelioid and sarcomatoid cells.
When doctors can figure out what cell type of mesothelioma a person has, they can create more effective treatment plans.
Since this disease is so rare, case studies like this are important to helping doctors in the future better diagnose and treat this type of cancer.
Wei C, Sun W, Cui M, Wang J. Primary sarcomatoid malignant mesothelioma of the liver: A case report [published online ahead of print, 2023 Apr 25]. Asian J Surg. 2023;S1015-9584(23)00564-X. doi:10.1016/j.asjsur.2023.04.052. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37105809/