Although there is early support for schemes based on nuclear grade, necrosis and mitotic rate, there is currently no widely implemented grading system for diffuse pleural mesothelioma (DPM). We investigated current systems and propose a novel Mesothelioma Weighted Grading Scheme (MWGS). The MWGS assigns weighted scores from 0 to 10 based on age (≤74, >74 yrs: 0,1); histologic type (epithelioid, biphasic, sarcomatoid: 0,1,2); necrosis (absent, present: 0,2); mitotic count per 2 mm2 (≤1, 2 to 4, ≥5: 0,1,2); nuclear atypia (mild, moderate, severe: 0,1,2); and BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) expression (lost, retained: 0,1). A score of 0 to 3 is low grade, 4 to 6 intermediate grade, and 7 to 10 high grade. In 369 consecutive DPMs, median survival was 17.1, 10.1, and 4.1 months for low, intermediate, and high grades (P<0.0001). A progressive increase in score correlated with worsening overall survival (P<0.0001). Interobserver concordance was substantial (κ=0.588), with assessment of nuclear grade being the most subjective parameter (κ=0.195). We compared the MWGS to the 2-tiered system discussed in the World Health Organization (WHO) fifth edition. The WHO system predicted median survival in epithelioid (median 18.0 vs. 11.3 mo, P=0.003) and biphasic (16.2 vs. 4.2 mo, P=0.002), but not sarcomatoid DPM (5.4 vs. 4.7 mo, P=0.407). Interestingly, the WHO grading system was prognostic in cases with BAP1 loss (median survival 18.7 vs. 10.4 mo, P<0.0001), but not retained BAP1 expression (8.9 vs. 6.2 mo, P=0.061). In conclusion, the WHO scheme has merit in epithelioid/biphasic and BAP1-deficient DPM, however, the MWGS can be used for risk stratification of all DPMs, regardless of histologic subtype and BAP1 status.
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