, The Asbestos & Mesothelioma Center

Mesothelioma treatment: a review of the role of the pathologist in mesothelioma

The Department of Pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts recently published an article on the various roles played by a pathologist throughout the mesothelioma diagnostic and treatment process. The article explores the importance of the pathologist not only in the diagnostic stage, but also in the treatment stage as well.

Treatment for malignant mesothelioma is heavily dependent upon accurate diagnosis and staging of the cancer. For example, epithelial mesothelioma, the most common subtype of mesothelioma, is treated slightly differently than sarcomatoid or biphasic mesothelioma. And the stage of the disease upon diagnosis can greatly affect what treatment procedures will be effective for the patient. Thus, the overall prognosis of a mesothelioma patient is established from information gathered by the pathologist.

Authors of the article note that “The pathologist provides crucial input to the determination of many prognostic factors including histologic subtype, extent of local disease progression, resection margins, and nodal status. They consult with the clinical care team at multiple points along the treatment spectrum, preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively. Finally, they are increasingly called on to guide selection of chemotherapy and measure treatment response.”

Clearly, the pathologist plays a pivotal role in the diagnosis and treatment of malignant mesothelioma. Since there is no cure for mesothelioma, it is important to use the right treatments for each individual patient to improve their personal prognosis. This is where insight from the pathologist becomes so pivotal, helping to fine-tune treatment options for each patient’s particular diagnosis.

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