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The type of mesothelioma means the type of cell the cancer started in. Knowing this helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need.

Where you can get mesothelioma

There are 2 main types of mesothelioma. These are mesothelioma in the:

  • covering of the lung (pleural mesothelioma)
  • lining of the tummy (peritoneal mesothelioma)

​Pleural mesothelioma starts in the sheets of tissue that cover the lungs. These are called the pleura.

Peritoneal mesothelioma grows in the tissue lining the inside of the tummy (abdomen). This is called the peritoneum.

Pleural mesothelioma is much more common than peritoneal mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma by cell type

    Mesothelioma is also grouped according to how the cells look under a microscope. There are 3 types:

    • epithelioid – the most common type
    • sarcomatoid or fibrous
    • mixed type (also called biphasic type)

    These types of mesothelioma cells can be further divided into other types. These are:

    • clear cell
    • small cell
    • acinar cell
    • tubopapillary cell
    Last reviewed: 
    10 Nov 2015
    • Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology (10th edition)
      VT De Vita, TS Lawrence and SA Rosenberg
      Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015

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