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Outside the Lab Oncology, Training and education

The Trials of Mesothelioma

Famously linked to asbestos exposure, malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an uncommon cancer that can prove difficult to accurately diagnose. But as testing methods advance, methods for distinguishing subtypes of MM are improving – with newer antibodies becoming available for immunohistochemistry (IHC) panels, and molecular testing methods displacing IHC in some cases as the preferred method for separating benign and malignant proliferations.

Table 1. The topics covered by the 2017 malignant mesothelioma guidelines.

To provide guidance for pathologists and address the latest advances, the International Mesothelioma Interest Group has issued updated guidelines, covering a range of practical topics for pathologists looking to accurately diagnose MM (see Table 1), while also covering some of the latest advances, including predictors of prognosis and therapy response (1).

The authors caution that pathologists should not consider asbestos exposure when diagnosing the disease, but offer a notable reminder: “MM, although a rare tumor, has a grave prognosis and invariably has medicolegal implications.”

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  1. AN Husain et al., “Guidelines for pathologic diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma: 2017 update of the consensus statement from the international mesothelioma interest group”, Arch Pathol Lab Med, [Epub ahead of print] (2017). PMID: 28686500.
About the Author
Roisin McGuigan

I have an extensive academic background in the life sciences, having studied forensic biology and human medical genetics in my time at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. My research, data presentation and bioinformatics skills plus my ‘wet lab’ experience have been a superb grounding for my role as an Associate Editor at Texere Publishing. The job allows me to utilize my hard-learned academic skills and experience in my current position within an exciting and contemporary publishing company.

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