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In advanced cases of mesothelioma, metastases may be of mixed origin


Among patients with advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), it is not uncommon for the disease to coexists with other carcinomas. For that reason, researchers occasionally note so-called "collision" tumors - that is, metastatic growths that contain both mesothelioma cells and those from another, distinct cancer.

Consider a report recently published in the journal Applied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology. In it, doctors related the case of 73-year-old man with a history of asbestos exposure. The team described finding a metastatic tumor in the patient's lymph node that contained bothmesothelioma and carcinoid cell types.

Carcinoid tumors grow in the endocrine system. On their own, they are usually considered fairly curable, according to the National Institutes of Health.

However, the possibility of collision tumors in patients with carcinoids could pose a problem, researchers said. That's because it doctors could potentially miss the mesothelioma cells in a collision tumor, diagnose it as a benign carcinoid and delay any aggressive treatment.

Scientists noted that the reverse might also be problematic. If a patient had advanced MPM, it would be important to determine whether the metastases were caused solely by this disease or represented the combination of two distinct illnesses.

"The recognition of a non-asbestos-related tumor in a patient with mesothelioma is important since its presence may have an impact on the patient's life expectancy," the team concluded.


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