Mesothelioma of the tunica vaginalis: A series of eight cases with uncertain malignant potential

Fadi Brimo, Peter B. Illei, Jonathan I. Epstein

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45 Scopus citations


Well-differentiated papillary mesotheliomas have rarely been reported to involve the testis tunica vaginalis. While the classic histology of the originally described well-differentiated papillary mesotheliomas consisted of papillae lined by a single layer of bland cuboidal cells, more complex architectural patterns have been described. This report details our experience with eight paratesticular mesotheliomas that span the histological spectrum from classic well-differentiated papillary mesotheliomas to those with more complex patterns. We attempt to determine whether there are prognostic or immunohistochemical differences between these lesions and 28 diffuse malignant mesotheliomas. All cases had papillary/tubulopapillary in addition to more complex architectures (cribriform, condensed) and none showed evidence of invasion. Mitotic figures were present in seven cases and averaged 2.1 mitosis per 50 h.p.f. All cases showed 1% of positive cells staining for Ki-67 and p53, and only one case stained positive for GLUT-1 in comparison with 50% positivity for GLUT-1 in diffuse mesotheliomas. Of five patients with follow-up information of more than 1 year, three patients were alive at 2, 3 and 9 years, and two died of unknown causes at 5 and 47 years, suggesting that these lesions behave more indolently than typical malignant mesotheliomas of the tunica vaginalis. If these cases were diffuse malignant mesotheliomas, one would have expected at least some of the patients to have died of disease within a couple of years after diagnosis. However, detailed and long-term follow-up were not sufficiently available to reach definitive conclusions on the true biological behavior of these tumors. The morphological continuum noted between our cases and classic well-differentiated papillary mesotheliomas, combined with their immunohistochemical profile and indolent behavior, contrasts with that of diffuse malignant mesotheliomas. We propose that these tunica vaginalis mesotheliomas, which are more complex than the classic well-differentiated papillary mesotheliomas, and yet are not overtly histologically malignant, be classified as mesotheliomas of uncertain malignant potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1172
Number of pages8
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • GLUT-1
  • mesothelioma
  • paratesticular
  • tunica vaginalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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