Epithelial Mesothelioma – All You Need to Know (2024)

Mesothelioma can be categorized by the location of the tumor, the cell type, and the stage of the cancer growth. Each of these factors impacts how the cancer is treated and what options are available for a patient. Epithelial mesothelioma is the most common cell type for mesothelioma, found in about 70% of all mesothelioma cases. It’s important to understand all you need to know about epithelial mesothelioma, including its cause and the common symptoms associated with the cell type.

Other mesothelioma cell types include sarcomatoid and biphasic. Biphasic mesothelioma cells are a combination of sarcomatoid and epithelial cells, and different ratios of each type can be present.

Understanding Epithelial Mesothelioma

Epithelial mesothelioma, also called epithelioid mesothelioma, is the form of mesothelioma that occurs when the epithelial cells in the lining of the organs turn cancerous. Epithelial tissue is found along the lining of internal cavities, hollow organs, and blood vessels, in addition to the skin’s surface.

Each mesothelioma cell type has a different microscopic appearance, and epithelial cells are defined and regular, appearing square, flat, or tubular. Each cell type grows and spreads through the body differently. The treatment options, prognosis, and survival rate for those with epithelial mesothelioma are more positive than the other cell types. These cells divide faster than other types of mesothelioma cells, but they also cluster, which limits the speed at which they metastasize.

Like all forms of mesothelioma, epithelial mesothelioma can be found in the lungs, abdominal cavity, heart, and testicles, and it is primarily caused by long-term and/or severe exposure to asbestos particles. Asbestos fibers, when released into the air, are inhaled and then irritate the tissue in the lungs, increasing the risk of developing mesothelioma.

Epithelial mesothelioma cells take longer to spread, and they are also the most responsive to all forms of treatment, including aggressive treatment. This is what makes survival rates and life expectancy better for these patients.

Symptoms of Epithelioid Mesothelioma

Symptoms for mesothelioma vary based on the primary location of the tumor and the stage of the cancer. Early stages of mesothelioma have less severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath or pain in the chest or stomach. Advanced stages of mesothelioma may have more serious symptoms, like anemia, blood clots, nausea, significant shortness of breath, and fluid buildup.

Epithelial mesothelioma symptoms may take longer to show than other cell types, so the disease is likely to be more advanced when discovered. The two most common forms of epithelial mesothelioma are pleural mesothelioma, found in the lungs, and peritoneal mesothelioma, found in the abdomen.

Pleural mesothelioma presents symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lung fluid buildup
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Coughing or hoarseness
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Unexpected weight loss

Common symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Abdominal fluid buildup
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation, diarrhea, and other bowel changes
  • Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss

These symptoms are the same across different cell types. Epithelioid mesothelioma responds better to aggressive treatment, so patients with this type of mesothelioma typically have a life expectancy of one to six and a half years, depending on the organ location and development of the tumor.


Q: What Is the Prognosis for Epithelial Mesothelioma?

A: The prognosis for epithelial mesothelioma may be between one and six and a half years. This depends on what organ lining the tumor originated in and how far the disease progressed before it was diagnosed. The epithelial cell type has the longest prognosis, as it responds the most to treatment. If the mesothelioma is a rarer type, it is harder to treat.

Mesothelioma is most commonly located in the lungs. If mesothelioma is not diagnosed until a later stage, there are fewer viable options for treatment and a lower life expectancy.

Q: What Are the Stages of Epithelioid Mesothelioma?

A: There are four stages of all types of mesothelioma, with Stage 4 being the most advanced and Stage 1 being the least. Stage 1 is the early tumor growth in the initial organ, whether that be the lungs, heart, abdominal cavity, or testicles. In Stage 2, the cancer begins to spread further in the organ. Then, in Stage 3, the tumors may have spread to other organs and deeper tissue, and they often cannot be operated on. In Stage 4, metastasis has occurred, and the cancer is inoperable.

Q: What Is the Survival Rate for Epithelioid Mesothelioma?

A: The survival rate for epithelioid mesothelioma, if surgery is possible, is 45% for two years. The five-year survival rate for most epithelioid mesothelioma diagnoses is 12%. The survival rate provides important information about general survivability after diagnosis, depending on specific factors, but it does not necessarily apply to your unique case. The survival rate varies based on:

  • The stage the disease was diagnosed
  • What treatments are available
  • Where it is located
  • The age and health of the individual

Q: Is Epithelioid Mesothelioma Curable?

A: No, epithelioid mesothelioma has no cure. However, of the three mesothelioma cell types, epithelioid responds the most to treatment and, therefore, has the most options for treatment. Although no one has recovered entirely from mesothelioma, some patients who have received treatment have lived beyond their expected prognosis. Treatment can help manage symptoms and lengthen life expectancy. In incredibly rare cases, mesothelioma can go into remission, meaning that it is no longer active.

What You Can Do If You Are Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

Individuals can be exposed to asbestos for many reasons, but some of them are due to the negligence or deliberate misconduct of manufacturers, employers, or property owners. When another party is at fault for your exposure to asbestos, and you develop epithelioid mesothelioma or another form of mesothelioma, you may have grounds for a civil claim. This claim can cover the damages you suffered, including medical costs and emotional damages.

At Wallace & Graham, P.A., we have more than 40 years of combined experience filing mesothelioma claims. Our team can work to provide you with legal support, determine if you have a viable claim, and advocate for your right to compensation. It is much easier to navigate a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim with the help of a skilled attorney, and you are more likely to get the compensation you are owed. Contact Wallace & Graham, P.A., today.