Advertisement

Malignant Mesothelioma: An Asbestos Legacy

  • Joseph R. TestaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Current Cancer Research book series (CUCR)

Abstract

With the advent of the industrial age, asbestos’ unique properties, including its resistance to fire, tensile strength, softness and flexibility, resulted in its widespread commercial use. Decades later, its usage was shown to have tragic medical consequences, as these fibrous minerals became causally linked to malignant mesothelioma and other debilitating diseases. Malignant mesotheliomas are aggressive tumors that arise from serous membranes, such as the pleura and the peritoneum. Mesothelioma has a dismal prognosis due to its inherent chemo- and radio-resistance as well as to the general ineffectiveness of surgical intervention. Mesotheliomas account for approximately 3200 deaths per year in the USA, with more than 450,000 deaths predicted over the next 40 years in the USA, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Legal compensation alone is projected to amount to hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide over this time span, and this already enormous figure does not include health care costs. Currently, about 125 million people worldwide are exposed to asbestos in the workplace. Given such continued exposure to asbestos fibers, there is thus great public, medical, and legal interest in this malignancy. This introduction provides a general overview of the mesothelioma burden and a brief outline about the contents of this monograph, which includes a multidisciplinary assessment of the characteristics of asbestos along with the epidemiology, cell biology, pathology, and treatment of mesothelioma. Psychological aspects and legal challenges facing mesothelioma patients and their families are also presented.

Keywords

History of asbestos usage Health effects of asbestos Malignant mesothelioma Mesothelioma epidemiology Pathology and treatment  Mesothelioma cell biology and genetics Germline and somatic mutations  Rodent models of mesothelioma Psychological and legal issues 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The Editor is grateful to the many talented laboratory colleagues and collaborators he has been privileged to work with over the years in a collective effort to unravel the pathogenesis of mesothelioma. He gives special thanks to Fox Chase Cancer Center, NIH, and the Local #14 of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers for their sustained financial support over the last three decades.

References

  1. Alleman JE, Mossman BT (1997) Asbestos revisited. Sci Am 277:70–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barrett JC, Lamb PW, Wiseman RW (1989) Multiple mechanisms for the carcinogenic effects of asbestos and other mineral fibers. Environ Health Perspect 81:81–89.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Burki T (2010) Health experts concerned over India’s asbestos industry. Lancet 375:626–627CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Carbone C, Ly BH, Dodson RF et al (2012) Malignant mesothelioma: facts, myths and hypotheses. J Cell Physiol 227:44–58CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Henley SJ, Larson TC, Wu M et al (2013) Mesothelioma incidence in 50 states and the district of Columbia, U.S., 2003–2008. Int J Occup Environ Health 19:1–10CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. International Agency for Research on Cancer (2009) Chrysolite, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite, and anthophyllite. In: IARC monographs. arsenic, metals, fibres and dusts. International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, pp 147–167Google Scholar
  7. Ismail-Khan R, Robinson LA, Williams CC Jr et al (2006) Malignant pleural mesothelioma: a comprehensive review. Cancer Control 13:255–263PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Kindler HL (2013) Peritoneal mesothelioma: the site of origin matters. Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book 33:182–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Magnani C, Dalmasso P, Biggeri A et al (2001) Increased risk of malignant mesothelioma of the pleura after residential or domestic exposure to asbestos: a case-control study in Casale Monferrato, Italy. Environ Health Perspect 109:915–919CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Mirarabshahii P, Pillai K, Chua TC et al (2012) Diffuse malignant peritoneal mesothelioma—an update on treatment. Cancer Treat Rev 38:605–612CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Musti M, Pollice A, Cavone D et al (2009) The relationship between malignant mesothelioma and an asbestos cement plant environmental risk: a spatial case-control study in the city of Bari (Italy). Int Arch Occup Environ Health 82:489–497CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Robinson BW, Lake RA (2005) Advances in malignant mesothelioma. N Engl J Med 353:1591–1603CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Testa JR, Cheung M, Pei J et al (2011) Germline BAP1 mutations predispose to malignant mesothelioma. Nat Genet 43:1022–1025CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. Testa JR, Carbone M (2016) Mesothelioma. In: Schwab M (ed) Encyclopedia of cancer, 3rd edn. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  15. Vogelzang N, Rusthoven JJ, Symanowski J et al (2003) Phase III study of pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin versus cisplatin alone in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. J Clin Oncol 21:2636–2644CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Wagner JC, Sleggs CA, Marchand P (1960) Diffuse pleural mesothelioma and asbestos exposure in the North Western Cape province. Br J Ind Med 17:260–271PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Wolf AS, Flores RM (2016) Current treatment of mesothelioma: extrapleural pneumonectomy versus pleurectomy/decortication. Thorac Surg Clin 26:359–375CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Biology ProgramFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations