Cystic Mesothelioma

This affliction is the formation of benign cyst(s) in the peritoneal area that develop from mesothelial cells. It usually impacts young women. The benign cysts cause the display of some malignant peritoneal mesothelioma symptoms, in that the most common conditions are abdominal distention and moderate to severe pain. The standard mode of treatment is surgical resection. Because the disease is so rare, however, there has been very little construction of a history for these patients, other than the fact that there is a high rate of recurrence. For that reason, some mesothelioma specialists feel that tracking patients with a history of cystic mesothelioma is important. Even though cystic mesothelioma is not associated with asbestos exposure, the concern about further abnormal behavior associated with mesothelium cells makes sense.

Cystic Mesothelioma Diagnosis

There are numerous types of peritoneal cysts that occur in the peritoneal space but independently of the organs in the area. CT scans are the best radiographic imaging technology for locating and identifying these cysts, but the radiography available today cannot distinguish a mesothelioma cyst from certain other types. That makes the caution called for by mesothelioma oncologists somewhat difficult, without additional tests to detect mesothelial cells. An extraction of fluid from the cyst can provide the appropriate material for lab testing.

Treatment for Cystic Mesothelioma

It has been suggested that these cysts no longer be referred to as benign, and that aggressive treatment including surgery and chemotherapy is appropriate. The fact that there are inflammation and mesothelium cells involved suggests that caution is s good idea. One physician who reviewed five cases found one that after six surgical procedures over ten years had transformed into malignant mesothelioma that had metastasized into the chest. The treatment suggested in this review is surgical removal of the cyst or as much of it as possible, possible resection of the peritoneal tissue and a full round of intraperitoneal chemotherapy – meaning application of the medication directly to the area that had been impacted by the cyst.

Because the disease usually occurs in women of reproductive age and has a high incidence of reoccurrence, there have been some clinical attempts to control the cyst development with hormone therapy. In a report on seventeen cases that occurred over a nineteen year period, involving thirteen women and four men, the analysis of the cysts detected hormone receptors in just three cases, suggesting weak evidence for hormone therapy as an effective treatment.


  1. Retroperitoneal Cystic Masses, RadioGraphics Journal, Yang et al, 2004,
  2. Peritoneal Cystic Mesothelioma – A Case Series, PubMed, Sugarbaker et al, the Washington Cancer Institute,
  3. Mesothelioma…Estrogen, Progesterone Receptors, Human Pathology, 2003,

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