In a necropsy series of 339 amphibole asbestos miners heavy smoking, age, and the presence of asbestosis were significantly associated with the presence of bronchial cancer. Of the 35 cases of bronchial cancer, 24 were associated with asbestosis. Eleven cases of bronchial cancer occurred in men without asbestosis; all were smokers. Standardised proportional mortality rates indicated no excess of bronchial cancer in 302 exposed men without asbestosis whereas these rates were progressively raised in men with slight or moderate/severe asbestosis. Of the four exposure variables introduced separately into a logistic regression model, "years of exposure" made a small but significant contribution; "residence time" marginally failed to achieve a 5% level of significance. Two other exposure variables tested including cumulative fibre exposure (fibre years) made no significant contribution. In the absence of asbestosis at necropsy a bronchial cancer in a man exposed to asbestos is unlikely to be due to asbestos.
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