Author(s): de Pangher Manzini V
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The clinical characteristics of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma are not fully known, and it appears as a variable entity with different types of clinical presentation and with a difficult diagnosis. PATIENTS: Fifteen patients with malignant peritoneal mesothelioma were analyzed for asbestos exposure, clinical presentation, thrombocytosis, X-rays and echotomographic findings, peritoneal fluid cytology, surgical investigations, diagnosis in vita, therapy, cause of death, diagnosis time, and survival time. RESULTS: Asbestos exposure was present in 12 men. Abdominal pain, ascites, abdominal mass, weight loss and fever were the most common presentation symptoms. In 5 patients, the disease presented as a surgical emergency. Assembling the presenting symptoms, malignant peritoneal mesothelioma was subdivided in 3 types: classical (6 cases), surgical (5 cases) and medical (4 cases). Thrombocytosis was present in 11 cases. Peritoneal fluid cytology was positive for neoplastic mesothelial cells in 8 of 10 cases. Laparotomy (5 patients) and laparoscopy (7 cases) were diagnostic in all cases. Diagnosis in vita was malignant peritoneal mesothelioma for 13 patients, peritoneal carcinomatosis for 1, with only 1 autopsy diagnosis. Seven patients were treated with chemotherapy, showing a progression of the disease. Mean symptoms-to-diagnosis time was 122 days (4-410), and mean symptoms-to-survival time was 345 days (45-1510). CONCLUSIONS: Malignant peritoneal mesothelioma is a very unusual disease characterized by a difficult diagnosis, a rapid evolution, a poor response to therapy, and a very high prevalence of thrombocytosis. A new clinical classification into three types (classical, surgical and medical) may be useful for a correct diagnosis. The early diagnosis of malignant peritoneal mesothelioma remains an important open question.
This article was published in Tumori
and referenced in Epidemiology: Open Access