Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura with desmoplastic histology: a case series and literature review

BMC Cancer 2016 September 6 [Link]

Hashimoto K, Okuma Y, Hosomi Y, Hishima T


Desmoplastic malignant pleural mesothelioma (DMM) is rare histological subtype of diffuse malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), accounting for 5-10 % of cases. It has a poor prognosis, with direct invasion of the chest wall or lungs and distant metastases. Its pathological characteristics include dense collagen fibers in a storiform pattern. Its pretreatment pathological diagnosis is difficult, with fibrous pleuritis and reactive mesothelial hyperplasia as potential differential diagnoses.
We retrospectively reviewed the medical charts of patients with MPM from 1996 to 2012. Among 60 patients with MPM, four patients with the desmoplastic subtype were identified and their clinical characteristics, including asbestos exposure, treatment, and prognosis, were reviewed. All of the patients with DMM were men, with a median age of 69 years (range: 63-74 years). All four patients had been exposed to asbestos. The definitive diagnosis was made histologically and the International Mesothelioma Interest Group classification was advanced (III/IV: 2/3) in all four patients. Three patients were treated with chemotherapy (two with cisplatin/pemetrexed and one with cisplatin/gemcitabine) and one patient underwent surgery. The median survival time in the patients with DMM was 3.8 months (range: 0.9-11.5 months), compared with 10.5 months in patients with other subtypes of MPM in our institution.
DMM continues to have a poor prognosis. It is important to recognize this variant and distinguish it from pleural plaques, non-specific reactive pleural fibrosis, pleurisy, and other lung diseases.