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Largely Unchanged Annual Incidence and Overall Survival of Pleural Mesothelioma in the USA

A Correction to this article was published on 10 September 2019

This article has been updated



Projections based on regulations curtailing asbestos use in the USA suggest that peak incidence of pleural mesothelioma would occur between 2000 and 2005 and then decline. We analyzed the National Cancer Database (NCDB) to assess current trends in disease incidence, patient demographics, cancer treatment, and survival.


The NCDB was queried to identify patients diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma from 2004 through 2014. Clinical and pathologic characteristics, treatments, and survival were analyzed. Risk factors for death were identified by multivariable Cox regression.


A total of 20,988 patients with pleural mesothelioma were reported to the NCDB. The number of cases per year increased from 1783 to 1961, accounting for roughly 0.3% of all reported cancers each year. The proportion of elderly patients increased from 75 to 80%, but distribution by sex remained constant (20% female). The proportion of patients undergoing treatment increased from 34 to 54%. One-year survival increased from 37 to 47% and 3-year survival from 9 to 15% (p < 0.001). Factors associated with improved survival included younger age, female sex, epithelioid histology, treatment in an academic center, health insurance, higher income, and multimodality therapy.


The annual incidence of mesothelioma has not declined this century and remains stable. Reporting of histologic and clinical staging has improved. National trends suggest that survival is slowly increasing despite an aging cohort. Multimodal therapy and treatment at academic centers are modifiable risk factors associated with improved survival.

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  • 10 September 2019

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CD :



National Cancer Database


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The Mary Elizabeth Holdsworth Fund and Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute. Andrew Tang is a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Clinical Research Scholar of the Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network (National Institutes of Health Grant U01 HL088955).

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Correspondence to Usman Ahmad.

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Disclosures Dr. Raja is a consultant for Smiths Medical, which does not pertain to this manuscript.

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Keshava, H.B., Tang, A., Siddiqui, H.U. et al. Largely Unchanged Annual Incidence and Overall Survival of Pleural Mesothelioma in the USA. World J Surg 43, 3239–3247 (2019).

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