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Histopathology. 2000 Aug;37(2):150-9.

Primary malignant gonadal mesotheliomas and asbestos.

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Department of Histopathology, University Hospital of Wales and Llandough Hospital, Cardiff, Wales, UK.



The clinicopathological, immunohistochemical and aetiological aspects, with respect to asbestos, of seven primary gonadal mesotheliomas (three intratesticular, four ovarian) are described and compared. These tumours are extremely rare, poorly described and the knowledge of their natural history is very limited.


The cases were collated from the UK Health and Safety Executive Mesothelioma Register over a 24-year period (1968-91). Primary mesotheliomas of the tunica vaginalis and ovary comprised 0. 09% (10 cases) and 0.03% (three cases) of mesothelioma deaths, respectively. No primary intratesticular (non-tunica vaginalis) malignant mesotheliomas have been described. In this study, we present seven (three intratesticular, four ovarian) primary malignant gonadal mesotheliomas. In both genders the tumours show a similar age distribution (with median onset in the sixth decade), a similar association with asbestos (in approximately 50% cases), a diverse histological spectrum (with predominantly tubulopapillary epithelial subtype tumours) and an immunophenotype that is comparable with malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. The clinical course appears variable (mean, 26 months; range, 9-50 months). All tumours in the study presented as localized masses and their prognosis appeared more favourable than that of diffuse pleural and peritoneal cases.


An awareness of the existence of these rare forms of malignant mesothelioma is important to prevent misdiagnosis. Immunohistochemistry has an important role in confirmation of the diagnosis. The accurate diagnosis of primary gonadal mesothelioma has potentially important medicolegal compensation considerations as a significant proportion of these cases are associated with asbestos.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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