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Pleural Mesothelioma Rates Expected to Decline Just as Lung Cancer Deaths Have

pleural mesothelioma rates

A new report suggests that pleural mesothelioma rates will continue to decline worldwide over the next decade as many countries get wise to the dangers of asbestos. The report comes on the heels of another study showing dramatic declines in US lung cancer deaths. 

The report on mesothelioma rates comes from market research website, Research and Markets. The company evaluated malignant pleural mesothelioma incidence in seven countries to come up with an 11-year forecast.

According to the research, the US, UK, Japan, and four European countries can expect declining rates of asbestos cancer through 2030. Those who do receive a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis may benefit from some of the same drugs that are helping lung cancer patients survive.

Lung Cancer Deaths and Mesothelioma Rates Falling

The report on lung cancer deaths in the US comes from the National Cancer Institute. Researchers focused on the two major types of lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer makes up about 76 percent of all lung cancer cases. Small-cell lung cancer accounts for about 13 percent. 

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a lung-related cancer similar to non-small cell lung cancer. Pleural mesothelioma rates relate directly to asbestos exposure rates. MPM was not included in the lung cancer report. However, some of the treatments credited with reducing lung cancer deaths may improve mesothelioma survival, too..

“This analysis shows for the first time that nationwide mortality rates for the most common category of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, are declining faster than its incidence, an advance that correlates with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of several targeted therapies for this cancer in recent years,” said Douglas R. Lowy, MD, NCI deputy director and co-author of the lung cancer study. 

Report Reveals Positive Mesothelioma Trends

The market research report looked at pleural mesothelioma rates in the US, the UK, Japan, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. 

There were 11,431 cases of pleural mesothelioma in these countries in 2017, the start of the study period. The report says pleural mesothelioma rates in five of the seven countries are declining. They are expected to keep going down over the next decade. This is probably due to reduced asbestos exposure. Only Spain and Japan have yet to see a rate reduction. 

The UK had the highest pleural mesothelioma rates of the seven countries. Germany had the second highest and Italy the third. More than 80 percent of cases occurred in people over 60.

In the lung cancer study, researchers say new immune checkpoint inhibitors help more patients survive now. These same drugs are prolonging the lives of mesothelioma patients, too. 

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) is one example. This immune checkpoint inhibitor targets a protein that helps mesothelioma hide from immune system attack. Studies show Keytruda may improve mesothelioma survival when combined with chemotherapy. 

Pleural mesothelioma rates may be heading in the right direction in the US. But they would be lower if the US banned asbestos. The US is the only country included in the market research report that does not have an asbestos ban. 


“New treatments spur sharp reduction in lung cancer mortality rate”, August 12, 2020, National Institutes of Health, news release, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/new-treatments-spur-sharp-reduction-lung-cancer-mortality-rate

“Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM)- Epidemiology Forecast to 2030”, August 31, 2020, Research and Markets, https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5135437/malignant-pleural-mesothelioma-mpm

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