Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Separation of Benign and Malignant Epithelial Proliferations in the Pleura

  • Todd DeJulioEmail author
  • Adam Beattie
  • Anjana Yeldandi
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.
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References and Further Reading

  1. Butnor, K. J. (2006). My approach to the diagnosis of mesothelial lesions. Journal of Clinical Path, 59, 564–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cagle, P. T., & Churg, A. (2005). Differential diagnosis of benign and malignant mesothelial proliferations on pleural biopsies. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 129, 1421–1427.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Churg, A., Colby, T. V., Cagle, P., et al. (2000). The separation of benign and malignant mesothelial proliferations. American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 24, 1183–1200.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Churg, A., et al. (2012). The separation of benign and malignant mesothelial proliferations. Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 136, 1217–1226.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyNorthwestern Memorial HospitalChicagoUSA