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Histological types of malignant mesothelioma and asbestos exposure.
  1. W E Wright,
  2. R P Sherwin


    The Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance Program abstracts hospital pathology records on almost all cases of cancer occurring in the county. Those cases of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma that occurred between 1972 and 1978 were identified. Occupational histories were obtained from interviews, and the histopathology of the tumours was reviewed by a member of a mesothelioma reference panel who was unaware of the exposure histories. The relation of asbestos exposure to the three histological types of mesothelioma (epithelial, mesenchymal, and mixed) was studied among the 29 cases for whom occupational histories were available and who were also considered to have histopathology consistent with mesothelioma. The proportion of cases exposed to asbestos was high for both the epithelial (11/17, 65%) and mixed histological types (6/11, 55%). The single case of mesothelioma classified as a mesenchymal type was also exposed to asbestos. Cases who had worked in shipyards were represented in each of the three groups. In cases who had worked in asbestos production and manufacture an exclusively epithelial type of tumour was observed. In cases who had worked as insulators or in heating trades the histological type was predominantly (3/4) mixed. These data do not support the hypothesis that any specific histological type of mesothelioma is especially related to asbestos exposure.

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