Pleural mesothelioma classification-update and challenges

Mod Pathol. 2022 Jan;35(Suppl 1):51-56. doi: 10.1038/s41379-021-00895-7. Epub 2021 Aug 31.


Mesothelial tumors are classified into benign or preinvasive tumors, and mesotheliomas. The benign or preinvasive group includes adenomatoid tumors, well-differentiated papillary mesothelial tumors, and mesothelioma in situ. Malignant tumors are mesotheliomas and can be localized or diffuse. Histological classification of invasive mesotheliomas into three major subtypes-epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic is prognostically important. It also plays a significant role in the treatment decisions of patients diagnosed with this deadly disease. Grading and subtyping of epithelioid mesotheliomas have been one of the major changes in the recent WHO classification of pleural tumors. Mesothelioma in situ has emerged as a precisely defined clinico-pathologic entity that for diagnosis requires demonstration of loss of BAP1 or MTAP by immunohistochemistry, or CDKN2A homozygous deletion by FISH. The use of these two biomarkers improves the diagnostic sensitivity of effusion specimens and limited tissue samples and is valuable in establishing the diagnosis of epithelioid mesothelioma. In this review, recent changes in the histologic classification of pleural mesothelioma, importance of ancillary diagnostic studies, and molecular characteristics of mesotheliomas are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Genes, p16
  • Humans
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / diagnosis*
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / genetics
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant / pathology
  • Pleura / pathology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / genetics
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Prognosis
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase / genetics


  • BAP1 protein, human
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase