Pathologic Grading of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma: An Evidence-Based Proposal

G. Pelosi, M. Papotti, L. Righi, G. Rossi, S. Ferrero, S. Bosari, F. Calabrese, I. Kern, P. Maisonneuve, A. Sonzogni, A. Albini, S. Harari, F. Barbieri, E. Capelletto, A.M. Catino, D. Cavone, A. De Palma, N. Fusco, F. Lunardi, E. MaioranoA. Marzullo, S. Novello, N. Papanikolaou, G. Pasello, A. Pennella, F. Pezzuto, A. Punzi, E. Prisciandaro, F. Rea, L. Rosso, A. Scattone, G. Serio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: A pathologic grading system (PGS) for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is warranted to better identify different risk categories of patients, plan therapeutic options, and activate clinical trials. Methods: A series of 940 patients with MPM (328 in a training set and 612 in a validation set) that was diagnosed between October 1980 and June 2015 at the participant institutions was retrospectively assembled. A PGS was constructed by attributing to each histologic parameter, independent at multivariate analysis with excellent reproducibility (κ > 0.75), different scores based on the increase in corresponding hazard ratios. The relevant PGS score thus ranged from 0 to 8 points for individual patients with MPM. Conclusions: The PGS was constructed by taking into consideration the histological subtyping of MPM (epithelioid/biphasic = 0 points; sarcomatoid = 2 points), necrosis (absent = 0 points versus present = 1 point), mitotic count per 1 mm2 (cutoffs as follows: 1–2 = 0 points, 3–5 = 1 point, 6–9 = 2 points, or ≥10 = 4 points), and Ki-67 labeling index based on 2000 cells (<30% = 0 points versus ≥30 = 1 point), all of which are independent factors in both patient sets after adjustment for stage and age at diagnosis. No heterogeneity was seen across the validation centers (p = 0.19). Epithelioid/biphasic MPM patterning and biopsy versus resection did not affect survival, whereas the PGS outperformed mitotic count and Ki-67 LI in both the training (area under the curve receiver operating characteristic = 0.76) and validation sets (area under the curve receiver operating characteristic = 0.73) (p < 0.01). Patient survival progressively deteriorated from a score of 0 (median times of 26.3 and 26.9 months) to a score 1 to 3 (median times of 12.8 and 14.4 months) and a score of 4 to 8 (median times of 3.7 and 7.7 months) in both sets of patients, with the hazard ratio for a 1-point increase in score being 1.46 (95% confidence interval: 1.36–1.56) in the training set and 1.28 (95% confidence interval: 1.22–1.34) in the validation set (after adjustment for age and [when available] tumor stage). The PGS was effective even in subgroup analysis (epithelioid, biphasic, and sarcomatoid tumors). Discussion: A simple and reproducible multiparametric PGS effectively predicted survival in patients with MPM. © 2018 International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1750-1761
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Grading
  • Mesothelioma
  • Pleura
  • Score
  • Survival
  • adult
  • aged
  • Article
  • cancer diagnosis
  • cancer grading
  • cancer staging
  • cancer surgery
  • cancer survival
  • cohort analysis
  • controlled study
  • evidence based practice
  • female
  • histology
  • human
  • human cell
  • human tissue
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • middle aged
  • multicenter study
  • observational study
  • onset age
  • pleura mesothelioma
  • priority journal
  • receiver operating characteristic
  • retrospective study
  • tumor biopsy
  • validation study
  • very elderly


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