Talc and mesothelioma: mineral fiber analysis of 65 cases with clinicopathological correlation.
Malignant mesothelioma is strongly associated with prior asbestos exposure. Recently there has been interest in the role of talc exposure in the pathogenesis of mesothelioma. We have analyzed lung tissue samples from a large series of malignant mesothelioma patients. Asbestos bodies were counted by light microscopy and mineral fiber concentrations for fibers 5 µm or greater in length were determined by scanning electron microscopy equipped with an energy dispersive spectrometer. The values were compared with 20 previously published controls. Among 609 patients with mesothelioma, talc fibers were detected in 375 (62%) and exceeded our control values in 65 (11%). Elevated talc levels were found in 48/524 men (9.2%) and 17/85 women (20%). Parietal pleural plaques were identified in 30/51 informative cases (59%) and asbestosis in 5/62 informative cases (8%). Commercial amphiboles (amosite and/or crocidolite) were elevated in 52/65 (80%) and noncommercial amphiboles (tremolite, actinolite or anthophyllite) in 41/65 (63%). Both were elevated in 34/65 (52%). Asbestos body counts by light microscopy were elevated in 53/64 informative cases (83%). A history of working in industries associated with asbestos exposure and increased mesothelioma risk was identified in 36/48 cases in men, and a history of exposure as household contacts of an occupationally exposed individual was identified in 12/17 cases in women. We conclude that among patients with mesothelioma, the vast majority have talc levels indistinguishable from background. Of the remaining 11% with elevated talc levels, the vast majority (80%) have elevated levels of commercial amphibole fibers.
Roggli, VL; Carney, JM; Sporn, TA; Pavlisko, EN
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)