Separation of Benign and Malignant Epithelial Proliferations in the Pleura
Reference work entry
Mesothelium is a form of specialized simple squamous epithelium that forms the lining of several body cavities, including the pleura (Fig. 1), pericardium, and peritoneum, as well as the internal organs of the male and female reproductive tracts. The primary function of mesothelium is to provide a smooth, slippery, and protective surface. Injury to the mesothelial lining can lead to mesothelial proliferation and fibrosis, which can mimic a malignant process clinically, radiographically and/or histologically. Neoplastic transformation of the mesothelium gives rise to malignant mesothelioma, which is an aggressive tumor most commonly observed in the pleura secondary to asbestos exposure. Differentiating malignant from reactive mesothelial proliferations on biopsy is particularly difficult for pathologists for a number of reasons, and, therefore, clinical, radiographic, immunohistochemical, and histologic data must be taken into account prior to rendering a diagnosis.
References and Further Reading
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