Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), an asbestos-induced tumor, represents significant diagnostic challenges for pathologists. Its histological diagnosis is stepwise and should be based on morphological assessment, supported by clinical and radiological findings, and supplemented with immunohistochemistry (IHC) and, more recently, molecular tests. The main diagnostic dilemmas are the differential diagnoses with benign mesothelial proliferations and other pleural malignant tumors. The present review is an update regarding the morphological, immunohistochemical, and molecular features with respect to MPM diagnosis. Data sources include a survey of the biomedical literature from PubMed (http://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) and textbooks focusing on the pathological diagnosis of MPM and associated immunohistochemical and molecular markers. The histological findings of MPM could facilitate its diagnosis and provide important prognostic information. The immunohistochemical approach should rest on the application of a panel including positive (mesothelial-related) and negative markers with greater than 80% sensitivity and specificity, which need to be selected based on morphology and clinical information. Moreover, in challenging cases, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) testing for the p16 deletion and IHC to evaluate the loss of BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) expression could be useful in distinguishing benign from malignant pleural proliferations.
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