Localized malignant mesothelioma, an unusual and poorly characterized neoplasm of serosal origin: best current evidence from the literature and the International Mesothelioma Panel

Mod Pathol. 2020 Feb;33(2):281-296. doi: 10.1038/s41379-019-0352-3. Epub 2019 Sep 4.


Localized malignant mesotheliomas (LMM) is an uncommon and poorly recognized neoplasm. Its pathologic diagnosis is often surprising in patients with serosal/subserosal based localized tumors that are clinically suspicious for metastatic lesions or primary sarcomas. Once a tumor is diagnosed as "mesothelioma", LMM is often mistaken for diffuse malignant mesothelioma (DMM). Best currently available evidence about LMM was collected from the literature and cases diagnosed by members of the International Mesothelioma Panel (IMP). One hundred and one (101) LMM have been reported in the English literature. Patients had localized tumors with identical histopathologic features to DMM. Patients ranged in age from 6 to 82 years; 75% were men. Most (82%) of the tumors were intrathoracic. Others presented as intrahepatic, mesenteric, gastric, pancreatic, umbilical, splenic, and abdominal wall lesions. Tumors varied in size from 0.6 to 15 cm. Most patients underwent surgical resection and/or chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Median survival in a subset of patients was 29 months. Seventy two additional LMM from IMP institutions ranged in age from 28 to 95 years; 58.3% were men. Sixty tumors (83.3%) were intrathoracic, others presented in intraabdominal sites. Tumors varied in size from 1.2 to 19 cm. Median survival for 51 cases was 134 months. Best evidence was used to formulate guidelines for the diagnosis of LMM. It is important to distinguish LMM from DMM as their treatment and prognosis is different. A multidisciplinary approach is needed for the diagnosis of LMM as it shows identical histopathology and immunophenotype to DMM.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biopsy
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / diagnostic imaging
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / mortality
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / pathology*
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / therapy
  • Middle Aged
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / therapy
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumor, Pleural / diagnostic imaging
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumor, Pleural / mortality
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumor, Pleural / pathology*
  • Solitary Fibrous Tumor, Pleural / therapy
  • Tumor Burden
  • Young Adult