Objective: To determine the proliferation rates of mesothelial cells in metastatic and benign effusions.
Study design: Immunohistochemistry was performed on formalin-fixed pellets from 16 malignant and 9 benign clinical effusions. Dual staining with antibodies against Ki-67 (MIB-1) and desmin was applied to all effusions to differentiate between benign mesothelial cells and malignant cells, and the proportions of desmin+/Ki-67+ and desmin+/Ki-67- cells were calculated.
Results: In 7 malignant effusions no proliferating mesothelial cells were found, whereas some rate of proliferation could always be demonstrated in mesothelial cells in the benign effusions. Further, the median proportions of proliferating cells, malignant 2% vs. benign 11%, differed significantly.
Conclusions: To our knowledge this finding has not been previously described, and it may have implications for both cytologic diagnosis and the understanding of tumor biology and the interaction between tumor cells and mesothelial cells.