A patient with malignant mesothelioma may present with spontaneous or recurrent pneumothorax. It is important for the clinician to consider the possibility of a malignant mesothelioma when evaluating a patient with a pneumothorax.


Clinical features:

(1) The patient may present with either a spontaneous or recurrent pneumothorax or hydropneumothorax.

(2) The patient may have a history of industrial or asbestos exposure.

(3) The chest X-ray may show thickening or irregularity of the pleura.


In suspicious cases:

(1) a pleural biopsy should be taken if possible and the pathologist alerted to the possibility of a mesothelioma

(2) a more extensive occupational and recreational history should be taken if the initial history is negative for asbestos exposure


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