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March 2, 2023

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Doctors often misdiagnose sarcomatoid mesothelioma as other lung cancers, including adenocarcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, or non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Therefore, receiving maximum compensation for asbestos exposure usually requires an experienced attorney specializing in asbestos litigation and sarcomatoid mesothelioma claims.t

Did a mesothelioma specialist diagnose you with a disease likely due to asbestos exposure? Are you seeking financial compensation through a sarcomatoid mesothelioma claim?

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for individuals who developed mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, or other diseases due to asbestos exposure.

Call a Chicago mesothelioma lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.


Mesothelioma is a rare cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, stomach, heart, or testicles. It can be caused by asbestos exposure, and it’s typically diagnosed after the patient has already undergone treatment for another disease.

The average survival time after being diagnosed with mesothelioma is only 15 months. However, new treatments are emerging all the time, which may improve patient outcomes significantly.

For example, one study found patients treated with chemotherapy plus talimogene laherparepvec had an overall survival rate of 42% at three years post-diagnosis compared to just 26% in those who received chemotherapy alone.

Another trial showed that adding pembrolizumab to standard chemoradiation improved median overall survival from 11 months to 16 months. It suggests that immunotherapy could make a great addition to current mesothelioma treatment regimens.

Although the standard of care has not changed much over the past few decades, it is clear that research into new treatments/cures can have a big impact on patient outcomes.

For this reason, it’s incredibly important that you contact an experienced asbestos attorney as soon as possible if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma describes a disease that develops from asbestos exposure, changing the cell’s characteristics.

It contrasts with the other four types of asbestos-related cancer derived from epithelial cells covering the body’s internal and external surfaces.

Unlike other forms of the disease, sarcomatoid mesothelioma is more likely to spread beyond the lungs and abdomen. There is also a greater chance that it will affect bones, lymph nodes, and kidneys.

It’s estimated around 10% of people with mesothelioma have the sarcomatoid type. It’s also possible to develop the sarcomatoid form after being diagnosed with another type of cancer, such as peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma.

However, despite these statistics, medical professionals are still largely unfamiliar with this diagnosis. Estimates show that 40-50% of people receiving a sarcomatoid mesothelioma diagnosis were originally misdiagnosed.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Treatment

Due to the rarity of sarcomatoid mesothelioma, there is very little research available on treatments. Although this has been changing recently, the outlook for patients diagnosed with this form of cancer is still quite poor.

In 2011, a Cancer journal published a study following two patient groups diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma. In one group, 33% had been exposed to asbestos, and 47% had been exposed to other mineral fibers.

In another study, although 50% of people were exposed to asbestos, less than 20% were symptomatic before being diagnosed with sarcomatoid carcinoma.

Thus, this study is a good illustration of how difficult it can be to identify exposure that might lead to this disease.

In addition to a diagnosis of malignant sarcomatoid mesothelioma, you may also have been exposed to one or more carcinogenic minerals like tremolite, chrysotile, and crocidolite. These minerals are commonly found in industrial areas such as power plants and oil refineries.

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

A malignant pleural mesothelioma is a form of cancer that starts in the membrane lining the chest cavity (pleura). The pleura contains folds and pockets which can fill with fluid or air, making it difficult for patients to breathe.

Due to recent advances in mesothelioma treatment options, many people diagnosed with the illness can live longer than those diagnosed in the past. However, those diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma typically only live for an average of 2-4 months after diagnosis and often die within a year.

Currently, radiation treatment combined with chemotherapy is considered the best mesothelioma treatment available.

Were you recently diagnosed with this disease, or are you seeking financial compensation for a loved one who has been diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma? If so, your first step should be to contact a personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC.

Biphasic Mesothelioma

Biphasic mesothelioma is a term used to describe two types of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The first type, epithelial type, accounts for about 80% of cases and originates in the cells that form the surface of the pleura lining.

The second disease type, sarcomatoid mesothelioma, accounts for the other 20% of cases in the inflammatory and immune cells found deeper within the pleura.

The prognosis for patients diagnosed with biphasic mesothelioma is slightly better than those diagnosed with epithelial type since it has not yet been associated with an increased risk of metastasis (spread to other organs).

However, treatments are still considered largely ineffective for this form of pleural mesothelioma, with 50% of patients dying within a year of diagnosis.

Pleural sarcomatoid mesothelioma symptoms typically develop slowly and are often relatively minimal during the early stages.

However, as the illness progresses, it can cause:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in the abdomen, shoulder, or hip
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Abnormal fluid buildup in the chest cavity (pleural effusion)
  • Fatigue

Limited treatment options are available for patients diagnosed with biphasic mesothelioma. The prognosis is poor for this form of pleural mesothelioma. Typically, epithelial mesothelioma is not considered a painless or silent disease.

Spindle Cell Mesothelioma

Spindle cell mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma that typically develops in the lower back. This type of cancer is rarer than other types and is not currently associated with an increased risk of metastasis (spread to other organs).

Diffuse and fibrous sarcomatoid tumors develop in the pleura of patients diagnosed with spindle mesothelioma. Unfortunately, there are currently no standard treatments for this form of pleural mesothelioma, and half of the patients die within 18 months of diagnosis.

Symptoms of sarcomatoid mesothelioma typically develop slowly and include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in the abdomen, shoulder, or hip
  • Fever and night sweats
  • Abnormal fluid buildup in the chest cavity (pleural effusion)
  • Fatigue

Limited treatment options are available for patients diagnosed with spindle cell mesothelioma. The prognosis is poor for this form of pleural mesothelioma.

Desmoplastic Mesothelioma

According to the National Cancer Institute, desmoplastic mesothelioma is a rare pleural mesothelioma cancer affecting lung tissue.

This type of cancer is slow to develop and accounts for about 1-3% of all cases diagnosed with mesothelioma. It does not appear to increase the risk of metastasis (spread to other organs), but it has been associated with the early onset of blood-borne metastasis (hepatic and peritoneal).

Lymphohistiocytoid Mesothelioma

Lymphohistiocytoid mesothelioma is a rare form of pleural mesothelioma developing in the epithelioid cells in and around the lungs. This type of cancer is slow to develop and accounts for 5-10% of all cases diagnosed with mesothelioma.

It does not appear to increase the risk of metastasis (spread to other organs), but it has been associated with the early onset of blood-borne metastasis (hepatic and peritoneal). If mesothelioma tumors develop in lymph nodes, the prognosis is considered poor.

The slow development of this form of pleural mesothelioma means that early diagnosis may be possible, and treatments are currently being studied that show promise in slowing the growth of tumors.

Pericardial Mesothelioma (Heart Mesothelioma)

Most pericardial mesothelioma cases develop in the heart lining. However, these cases are often diagnosed as rare pleural mesothelioma. Pericardial mesothelioma can also originate in the membrane that surrounds the heart (pericardium).

Because this form of cancer does not spread to other organs. It typically does not increase the risk of metastasis (spread to other organs) and only accounts for 4 – 12% of all cases diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. However, if mesothelioma tumors develop in the pericardium, the prognosis is considered poor.


Sarcomatoid Peritoneal Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid peritoneal mesothelioma is rare cancer forming in the peritoneum (membrane lining the abdominal cavity). Unlike pleural or pericardial mesothelioma, sarcomatoid peritoneal mesothelioma usually affects all three membrane layers.

There are only about 200 cases diagnosed each year, and there is no strong evidence that shows how long this form of mesothelioma can survive after diagnosis.

Research is still being conducted on sarcomatoid peritoneal mesothelioma. However, treatments are available to help alleviate illness-related symptoms.

The most well-known treatment for pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma is a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Surgical procedures can also help reduce pain or remove tumors, including heart transplants for those diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma.

The standard treatment options available today include:

  • Pericardiectomy: This technique surgically removes the membrane surrounding the heart, also known as the pericardium.
  • Peritoneal Lavage: This procedure drains fluid from the abdominal cavity and replaces it with a saline solution.
  • Diathermy Ablation: In this surgical technique, an electrode is inserted into the abdomen through a tube to send electrical impulses that cause the tumor cells to burst.
  • Surgical Excision: In this technique, a surgeon removes the tumor with a margin of healthy tissue to excise all sarcomatoid mesothelioma cells
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is administered by intravenous drugs that kill cancer cells or stop them from growing quickly.

Treatment for sarcomatoid mesothelioma is typically limited to chemotherapy. However, some clinical trials are available that focus on peritoneal implants or different types of radiation treatments.

Surgery is usually only recommended if the patient has a localized tumor with no cancer cells detected in any lymph nodes.

Transitional Mesothelioma

Transitional mesothelioma is a subtype of pleural mesothelioma originating in the chest cavity’s transitional epithelial tissue. According to the American Cancer Society, about 10% of pleural mesothelioma cases are transitional.

Patients diagnosed with transitional pleural mesothelioma have a median survival time of 9 months. Unfortunately, this form is currently considered untreatable, and patients often die within one year of diagnosis.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Prognosis

According to the National Cancer Institute [1], the prognosis is the same as that of other forms of mesothelioma:

  • A low survival rate is mainly attributed to the difficulty in diagnosing this form of pleural mesothelioma. Additionally, since tumors are often deep within the chest cavity, surgery is typically not possible.
  • Treatment options are also very limited, with radiation treatment combined with chemotherapy being considered the best option available. However, even with treatment, most people diagnosed with this form of pleural mesothelioma die within six months.
  • The prognosis varies widely depending on the treatment method used, with some people living for decades after diagnosis. However, one study showed that patients diagnosed with sarcomatoid mesothelioma died within five years of diagnosis.
  • A complete cure is not possible since the disease is so advanced by the time it is diagnosed.
  • The five-year survival rate of patients with sarcomatoid mesothelioma is within 10% of those diagnosed with other forms of pleural mesothelioma. However, overall, 60% of all people diagnosed with this form of pleural mesothelioma die within six months of diagnosis.
  • The five-year survival rate for patients whose tumors are detected early is more than 70%. However, the poor prognosis drops below 30% for individuals diagnosed with late-stage sarcomatoid mesothelioma.

The prognosis for pleural mesothelioma is generally poor since it has no known cure, and most people diagnosed with the illness do not live longer than 18 months after diagnosis.

However, research indicates that long-term survival is possible for some patients when asbestos exposure is discovered early enough to allow numerous surgical opportunities.

The prognosis for sarcomatoid mesothelioma is generally poor, like other forms of pleural mesothelioma. Consumers should speak with a medical professional early in the disease process to discuss treatment options, and care can begin immediately.


Sarcomatoid Malignant Mesothelioma or Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Risk Factors

Affected individuals should seek prompt medical attention to receive a mesothelioma diagnosis as soon as possible if they notice any of these symptoms. The earlier you are diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, the more options you will have for treatments and financial recovery.

Research has shown that certain risk factors may increase your chances of developing pleural mesothelioma:

  • Smoking: Cigarette smoke contains many compounds that can damage the body’s genetic material and cause cancerous tumors to develop. There is evidence that smokers are at a much higher risk of developing pleural mesothelioma than non-smokers.
  • Working in an occupation where asbestos was present: Individuals exposed to asbestos at work for extended periods (typically ten years or more) are at the highest risk of developing this asbestos-related disease.

Occupations linked with an increased risk of developing malignant mesothelioma include:

  • Construction workers
  • Shipbuilders
  • Power plant workers
  • Shipyard workers
  • Manufacturing plant employees
  • Automobile mechanics
  • Machinists
  • Firefighters

Individuals exposed to asbestos but who do not work in any of these high-risk occupations may still suffer from mesothelioma.

While there is no cure for mesothelioma, doctors are continuing to develop new treatment options. Many of these treatments are focused on slowing the growth of tumors and minimizing symptoms.

To receive a mesothelioma diagnosis in a timely fashion, affected individuals should seek prompt medical attention if they notice any of the symptoms listed above.

Under a microscope, pathologists can identify sarcomatoid cells by the absence of epithelial or tissue components within the cell. Therefore, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma typically undergo a battery of tests to evaluate which treatments are most likely to be effective.

These tests may include:

  • Biopsy: A biopsy is typically the first step in receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis. A small sample of tissue is removed from the affected area and analyzed by a pathologist to determine whether or not cancer cells are present.
  • CT scan: A CT scan uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create detailed images of the inside of the body. This scan is particularly helpful for locating tumors blocking important bodily functions, such as breathing or digestion.
  • PET Scan: Positron emission tomography (PET) scans use small amounts of radioactive material to evaluate the presence and location of cancer cells in the body. This scan is typically used to determine whether or not cancer cells have metastasized to other areas of the body.
  • MRI Scan: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans use magnetic waves to create detailed images of the inside of the body. This scan is particularly helpful for locating tumors that are blocking important bodily functions.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests are used to evaluate the overall health of an individual. A blood test may include a complete blood count (CBC), which evaluates the number and quality of white and red blood cells and platelets in the body. Blood tests are also used to determine whether or not certain enzymes are elevated, which could indicate a tumor is present.

To receive a mesothelioma diagnosis as quickly as possible, affected individuals should seek prompt medical attention if they notice any symptoms listed above. In addition, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma may receive various treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy treatment.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Treatment

Research shows sarcomatoid mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed in patients between the ages of 65 and 75. The median survival rate for a sarcomatoid mesothelioma patient is around 18 months (life expectancy).

Patients whose tumors are in the pleural lining will often develop symptoms that cause severe weight loss and respiratory issues like shortness of breath. According to National Cancer Institute specialists, the average survival rate for peritoneal mesothelioma patients is around 6 to 12 months.

The most common location for this specific type is the lining of the lungs (the pleura). Cancer can also grow in the peritoneum (lining of the abdomen), heart, testicles, and skin.

Symptoms include:

  • A rapid weight loss
  • Blood in stools
  • Chest pain
  • Lumps on the skin
  • Pain in bones or joints that doesn’t go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma is slower growing than other types, but it tends to be more aggressive and spread to lymph nodes and distant organs. Mesothelioma is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos, which was used primarily from the 1940s until about 1980. Other risk factors include:

  • Being exposed to secondhand smoke
  • Living in an industrialized nation
  • Smoking cigarettes and cigars, pipes, and marijuana

Workers in the shipbuilding industry, power plants, and steel mills have a high risk of developing sarcomatoid mesothelioma. The increased risk is because the workers are more likely to be exposed to asbestos.

Asbestos has been labeled as a human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and it is linked to other health conditions such as:

  • Lung cancer and other lung diseases, including asbestosis and mesothelioma
  • Ovarian cancer in women
  • Prostate cancer in men

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Claims

Sarcomatoid mesothelioma patients have legal recourse against the asbestos companies responsible for their exposure by filing a mesothelioma claim. Due to recent changes in the law, this avenue of compensation may be available as an option to those diagnosed with mesothelioma after July 1, 2015.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma claims are legal remedies that benefit the victim and their family. The victims are paid through a trust fund set up by the asbestos companies found liable for causing mesothelioma.

Proving company liability in sarcomatoid mesothelioma cases can be challenging. It typically requires an expert medical witness specializing in asbestos and cancer. In addition, some of the defendants in asbestos cases are U.S.-based companies, but others are based in other countries, which increases the difficulty of proving liability.

Filing a Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Claim

After receiving the diagnosis of sarcomatoid mesothelioma, patients file a sarcomatoid mesothelioma claim.

This process requires a mesothelioma lawyer with sufficient experience to build a solid case against negligent companies and negotiate a settlement that provides compensation for the victim, survivor, and family members.

The first step is to create an asbestos exposure history report, which outlines all of the places where asbestos was present during the time of exposure.

Next, the plaintiff must prove that they were injured by the asbestos, which can be done through medical surveillance and testing of the person’s body tissues for abnormal cells.

Some of the places where asbestos was commonly found are:

  • Asbestos-containing materials
  • shipyards
  • power plants
  • oil refineries
  • steel mills

Many companies might’ve contributed to the mesothelioma diagnosis, and a lawsuit can be filed against each defendant. This process may require hiring an expert witness who specializes in asbestos exposure and mesothelioma diagnosis.

Filing a sarcomatoid mesothelioma claim requires extensive research. So, it is advised that you hire a legal professional to increase your chances of winning.


Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer to Resolve Your Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma Compensation Case

Did a Mesothelioma specialist diagnose you with an asbestos-related disease? Are you looking for financial compensation for your damages because your employer exposed you to toxic asbestos?

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury lawyers are legal advocates for mesothelioma patients harmed through asbestos exposure. Call us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Our law firm accepts all sarcomatoid mesothelioma cases on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you’ll pay us nothing until we resolve your compensation claim through a negotiated settlement or jury award.

Resources: [1] National Cancer Institute

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