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Mesothelioma Cell Types

One way that mesothelioma is detected is how the mesothelioma cells look under a microscope – called “cell type.” There are four main cell types:


The most common cell type, which accounts for around 50% to 70% of all mesothelioma diagnoses. Epithelioid mesothelioma has the best prognosis of the types of malignant mesothelioma.


The cell type described as Sarcomatoid accounts for around 10% to 20% of all mesotheliomas and is categorized as having an erratic character.


Also commonly referred to as “mixed variant,” the biphasic cell type is a combination of both the epithelioid and Sarcomatoid cell types and accounts for between 10% and 30% of mesotheliomas.


Known as “DMM,” cells categorized as desmoplastic are rare and aggressive, making up 5% to 10% of malignant mesotheliomas.

Mesothelioma cell types are further divided into four subgroups:

  • Clear cell – the inside of the cell appears clear under a microscope, very rare
  • Small cell – the cell appears smaller than normal cells under a microscope, typically develops in the peritoneum
  • Tubulopapillary cell – the cells appear uniform under a microscope, usually develops in the peritoneum
  • Acinar cell – the cell looks like a pyramid under a microscope, extremely rare

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