Sarcomatoid mesothelioma accounts for approximately 10 to 15 percent of all diagnoses. The mesothelioma cell types in this case are elongated and spindle-shaped, and are arranged in a rather haphazard way. Sarcomatoid cells also lack a nucleus, unlike epithelioid cells, which have clearly visible nuclei.
The desoplastic variety of sarcomatoid mesothelioma is difficult to distinguish from healthy tissue in many cases, making an accurate mesothelioma diagnosis challenging.
Once mesothelioma symptoms have been cataloged and a history of asbestos exposure determined, the next step is to look inside the body - initially with x-rays, followed up by more sophisticated imaging such as CT scans or MRIs. If these images reveal serious abnormalities, a biopsy (tissue samples) will be ordered. These are examined and analyzed at a lab, which usually confirms or contradicts the diagnosis.
When it comes to the sarcomatoid mesothelioma, traditional methods of biopsy pose additional challenges; the normal "needle core" method often results in false information, as sarcomatoid cells are often similar in appearance to benign fibrous tissue. Additionally, histological methods of diagnosis often make it difficult to distinguish between sarcomatoid mesothelioma and other types of unrelated sarcomatoid cancers.
A precise and accurate diagnosis is vital, because a misdiagnosis can lead to an inappropriate course of mesothelioma treatment being prescribed; it is a good idea to get a second and even a third opinion if mesothelioma is suspected.