Mesothelioma Pathology - Mesothelioma pathology is the procedure used to evaluate soft tissues involved in a mesothelioma diagnosis. If tumors are found in the lung area of someone suspected of having mesothelioma, a biopsy is taken and examined for abnormal cell activity. Biopsies are small pieces of tissue taken from the body for the expressed purpose of diagnosing a disease. Chemical and visual analysis is done on the tissue samples by pathologists, who determine whether asbestos fibers have indeed caused mesothelioma.
Pathologists decide whether tissue samples contain mesothelioma cells by detecting the existence of specific biomarkers, such as the presence or lack of protein molecules which can be used to differentiate between healthy cells and abnormal cells. A pathology report regarding a suspected case of mesothelioma may also contain information concerning other tests taken on the tissue during the examination. These results are sometimes necessary to augment the initial diagnosis of mesothelioma. Determining the exact type of mesothelioma is done by pathologists and physicians using histopathology as well. Histology is the study of cell structure and anatomy which further assists pathologists in discriminating mutated cells from normal cells.
Immunohistochemistry testing is also performed by pathologists to determine tumor types. Mesothelioma tumors consist of epithelial, sarcomatoid and biphasic, with epithelial tumors being the most commonly found in individuals suffering from prolonged asbestos exposure. Immunohistochemistry further examines the amount of protein antibodies living in cancer cells which can facilitate diagnosis of a specific mesothelioma condition.
When seen through a microscope, mesothelioma cells appear flattened on in columns and tend to form tube-like structures that resemble adenocarcinoma, or lung cancer cells seen in people who have not been exposed to asbestos. This is why immunohistochemical analysis and staining is necessary to make the correct diagnosis of mesothelioma. Electron microscope examination is sometimes required which can take a much closer look at the cells structure and chemical processes.