Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma: Rare and Aggressive

Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, or testicles. It develops after exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was widely used in construction, shipbuilding, and other industries until the 1970s. There are three main types of mesothelioma: epithelioid, sarcomatoid, and biphasic. Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is the rarest and most aggressive type, accounting for only 10-20% of all cases.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma are similar to those of other types of mesothelioma and may include:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Anemia

Diagnosing sarcomatoid mesothelioma can be challenging because it has a unique appearance under the microscope that is often difficult to distinguish from other types of cancer. Doctors may use a combination of tests, including imaging scans, biopsies, and blood tests, to confirm the diagnosis. If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos and may be at risk of developing mesothelioma, it is important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and risk factors.

Treatment Options

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is notoriously difficult to treat because it tends to be more aggressive and less responsive to traditional therapies than other types of mesothelioma. However, there are still some treatment options available, including:

  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove as much of the cancer as possible. However, because sarcomatoid mesothelioma tends to be more widespread and difficult to remove than other types, surgery is often not an option.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. While not always effective, chemotherapy can sometimes slow the progression of sarcomatoid mesothelioma and help relieve symptoms.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It is often used in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a newer type of cancer treatment that works by stimulating the body's own immune system to fight cancer. While not yet approved for use in sarcomatoid mesothelioma specifically, some immunotherapy drugs have shown promise in early clinical trials.
  • Clinical trials: For some patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma, participating in a clinical trial of a new treatment may be an option. Clinical trials are research studies that test new therapies or drug combinations to determine their safety and effectiveness.

Outlook and Prognosis

The prognosis for sarcomatoid mesothelioma is generally poor, with most patients surviving only 6-12 months after diagnosis. However, some patients may live longer with aggressive treatment and close monitoring. Because sarcomatoid mesothelioma is so rare, there is still much that is not understood about the disease and its outcomes. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma, it is important to talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for your specific case.

Prevention and Awareness

While there is no surefire way to prevent mesothelioma, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing the disease, including:

  • Avoiding exposure to asbestos as much as possible, especially if you work in a high-risk industry like construction or shipbuilding
  • Using protective equipment like masks and gloves when working with asbestos or other dangerous substances
  • Talking to your doctor about your risk factors for mesothelioma

In addition, raising awareness about mesothelioma and its causes can help prevent future cases of the disease. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lost a loved one to the disease, consider getting involved with advocacy groups or other organizations that work to raise awareness and promote research into better treatments and a cure.


Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that poses significant challenges for patients and their families. While there are currently no surefire treatments for sarcomatoid mesothelioma, there are still options that may help improve outcomes and manage symptoms. By staying informed about the disease and taking steps to reduce your risk of exposure, you can help protect yourself and those around you from the devastating effects of mesothelioma.