Basal lamina reduplication in malignant epithelioid pleural mesothelioma

Marcello Di Muzio, Luciana Spoletini, Luigi Strizzi, Antonio Procopio, Gianfranco Tassi, Angelo Casalini, Andrea Modesti

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Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura is divided in three morphological variants: epithelioid, sarcomatous, and biphasic. Histological similarities between epithelioid malignant mesothelioma (EMM) and lung adenocarcinoma are responsible for the difficult differential diagnosis. Monoclonal antibodies are useful for distinguishing the two neoplasms through immunohistochemical phenotyping, although many cases require ultrastructural characterization for definitive diagnosis. In this study, transmission electron microscopic observations of EMM were compared with those of peripheral adenocarcinoma of the lung (PAL). More specifically, the morphology of the basal lamina is described in 23 cases of EMM and 12 cases of PAL. Reduplication of the basal lamina (RBL) was found in 11 cases (48%) of EMM and in none of the PAL cases. The same cases were immunostained for type IV collagen and the localization of this basement membrane component corresponded to the areas where basal lamina was observed. Since RBL has been associated with neoplastic differentiation in other tumors, this novel feature in EMM needs to be evaluated in future prognostic studies in malignant mesothelioma of the pleura. Moreover, RBL expression in EMM may be an additional ultrastructural parameter used in the differential diagnosis between EMM and adenocarcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalUltrastructural Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Basal lamina reduplication
  • Diagnosis
  • Mesothelioma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Instrumentation
  • Structural Biology


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