Table 2

Observed distribution of asbestos lung burdens in male mesotheliomas and lung cancers, estimated distribution in the UK male population (central cohort born 1945), and predicted lifetime risks for mesothelioma and lung cancer

 TEM asbestos burden (million fibres ≥5 µm in length per dry gram)
0−0.025−0.05−0.2−0.5−≥1.0All men
Mean lung burden (mf/g)*0.009180.03640.08540.2930.7692.08
Distribution of lung burdens in mesotheliomas and lung cancers (from table 1) and fitted OR model (solid line in figure 2)
Mesotheliomas (mean lung burden 0.430 mf/g)16.8%7.5%30.8%19.6%14.0%11.2%100%
Lung cancers (mean lung burden 0.082 mf/g)57.7%12.1%22.5%4.4%2.2%1.1%100%
Mesothelioma/lung cancer OR
 Observed1.0 (ref)2.124.7015.3121.8835.00
Estimated distribution of lung burdens and resulting mesothelioma and lung cancer risks due to asbestos in the UK male population born in 1945
Lifetime mesothelioma risk‡0.18%0.72%1.66%5.45%12.91%26.99%0.86%
Mesothelioma SMR§218319363315013137100
Lifetime lung cancer risk‡4.55%4.83%5.34%7.41%11.67%20.64%4.67%
Lifetime excess lung cancer risk‡0.10%0.38%0.89%2.97%7.22%16.20%0.47%
Lung cancer SMR¶97103114159250442100
UK population (estimated mean lung burden 0.047 mf/g)**63.08%12.38%20.70%2.82%0.83%0.19%100%
  • *Mean lung burden of lung cancer samples in each category except the highest (≥1 mf/g). One lung cancer with 22.0 mf/g was recoded as 2.08 mf/g, the mean for the other lung cancer and the 12 mesotheliomas ≥1 mf/g. The mean for samples ≥1 mf/g was also set as 2.08 mf/g. Retaining the original value has little effect on the fitted model but distorts the lung burdens shown in table 3.

  • †Solid line in figure 2.

  • ‡Actuarial calculation of probability of dying by age 90 from projected mesothelioma and lung cancer rates assuming national rates for other causes of death.

  • §Proportional to mean lung burden.

  • ¶Proportional to 1+2.55× (mean lung burden).

  • **Proportional to number of lung cancers divided by lung cancer SMR.

  • TEM, transmission electron microscopy, SMR, Standardised Mortality Ratio.