Approximately between 20 % and 40 % of all mesothelioma cancer cells fall into a category known as biphasic mesothelioma, which is a combination of epithelioid and sarcomatoid types of cancer. The biphasic mesothelioma type is capable of occurring with two different types of cancer cells that are intermixed throughout the tumor continuously, as well as with them separated in specific groupings. There are often transitional areas that occur between the two cell types.
Cases of biphasic mesothelioma cancer have seen a serious increase in occurrence over the past few years. In the past, biphasic mesothelioma cancer was only seen in approximately 25 % of all cases of mesothelioma, however now between 46 % and 63 % of all mesothelioma cases are biphasic mesothelioma cancer cases.
Biphasic mesothelioma cancer differs from both sarcomatoid and epithelioid mesothelioma cancers in that it does not have its own unique cellular structure. Instead, biphasic mesothelioma cancer is a mixture of sarcomatoid and epithelioid mesothelioma subtypes. Epithelioid mesothelioma cells are typically shaped like cubes, but they are sometimes seen in columnar shapes or flattened shapes as well. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma cancer cells are fibrous and are either oval shaped or spindle shaped. Because biphasic mesothelioma cancer sufferers have two very unique cell types associated with their biphasic mesothelioma disease, it can actually be an easier diagnosis than sarcomatoid mesothelioma or epithelioid mesothelioma because their cellular types are actually capable of being confused with a number of other types of cancer aside from mesothelioma.
This type of cancer, biphasic mesothelioma, typically produces not a mixture of epithelioid and sarcomatoid cancer cells, but a combination of them. What this means is that the two different subtypes of cancer cells occur in completely different parts of the tumor. In this particular sense, classifying a biphasic mesothelioma cancer case is simply stating that the patient in question has both epithelioid mesothelioma cancer and sarcomatoid mesothelioma cancer at the same time. Because the epithelioid cancer cells and sarcomatoid cancer cells are capable of being kept separate in different parts of the tumor, it can easily lead to a mistaken diagnosis of the subtype of the mesothelioma.
If a section of the tumor is examined by way of Histopathological examination, only one type or the other of the cancer cells may be uncovered. Taking multiple sections of the diseased tissue for the purpose of examination is important so that histopathologists will be more likely to identify the right type of mesothelioma cancer, which in this case is biphasic mesothelioma cancer. Misdiagnosis of a subtype of mesothelioma cancer is not normally a problem because there is no difference in how the three are treated, but knowing what subtype of mesothelioma a patient has may lead to a more accurate survival rate.
The treatment for all three cancers is the same, but the survival rate is different for all three mesothelioma subtypes. The average survival time for biphasic mesothelioma cancer is the lowest, at only approximately six months.