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Is Asbestos Fiber Type or Concentration More Important in Mesothelioma?

Is Asbestos Fiber Type or Concentration More Important in Mesothelioma?Malignant pleural mesothelioma is strongly associated with occupational asbestos exposure.

The total asbestos fiber concentration may be associated with an increased risk of mortality. Asbestos fiber type was not as important.

A new study looked at different types and concentrations of asbestos fibers in the lung tissues of mesothelioma patients. The team investigated their effects on patient mortality.

Asbestos Fiber Analyses

A Finnish team of scientists identified 590 patients to study. All patients had malignant pleural mesothelioma and underwent pulmonary asbestos fiber analysis.

A pulmonary asbestos fiber type analysis is a special clinical test. It extracts fibers and asbestos bodies from a patient’s lung tissue.

Usually, this uses a digestion-and-concentration technique. The examination may even include electron diffraction and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy.

This test provides insights into the development of asbestos-induced diseases like mesothelioma.

Saturation Is More Important than Asbestos Fiber Type

A new study showed that total asbestos fiber concentration is associated with patient mortality. Patients with a high asbestos concentration in their lungs did not live as long.

What was interesting is their results on asbestos fiber type. No difference in mortality was noted between different fiber types.

There are two types of asbestos fiber considered in this study. Crocidolite was more often associated with malignant pleural mesothelioma than anthophyllite. It is believed that the method of consumption, asbestos spraying, is important here.

Yet, anthophyllite was the sole fiber found in the development of malignant pleural mesothelioma.

The team’s findings suggest that asbestos fiber concentration is most important. Asbestos fiber type is not as important for patient mortality. The total fiber burden may impact the development of malignant pleural mesothelioma.


Laaksonen, Sanna, Eeva Kettunen, Eva Sutinen, Ilkka Ilonen, Tapio Vehmas, Timo Törmäkangas, Jari Räsänen, Henrik Wolff, and Marjukka Myllärniemi. “Pulmonary Asbestos Fiber Burden is Related to Patient Survival in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma.” Journal of Thoracic Oncology (2022). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtho.2022.03.012

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