The European mesothelioma epidemic. (1/1116)

Projections for the period 1995-2029 suggest that the number of men dying from mesothelioma in Western Europe each year will almost double over the next 20 years, from 5000 in 1998 to about 9000 around 2018, and then decline, with a total of about a quarter of a million deaths over the next 35 years. The highest risk will be suffered by men born around 1945-50, of whom about 1 in 150 will die of mesothelioma. Asbestos use in Western Europe remained high until 1980, and substantial quantities are still used in several European countries. These projections are based on the fit of a simple age and birth cohort model to male pleural cancer mortality from 1970 to 1989 for six countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland) which together account for three-quarters of the population of Western Europe. The model was tested by comparing observed and predicted numbers of deaths for the period 1990-94. The ratio of mesothelioma to recorded pleural cancer mortality has been 1.6:1 in Britain but was assumed to be 1:1 in other countries.  (+info)

Macrophage plasminogen activator: induction by asbestos is blocked by anti-inflammatory steroids. (2/1116)

Intraperitoneal injection of asbestos fibres into mice induces the formation of exudates containing macrophages that produce plasminogen activator. Like-wise, in vitro addition of asbestos to macrophage cultures stimulates plasminogen activator secretion; the synthesis and secretion of lysozyme and lysosomal enzymes are not changed under these conditions. The enhanced secretion of plasminogen activator by macrophages exposed to asbestos is suppressed by low concentrations of anti-inflammatory steroids.  (+info)

A historical cohort mortality study of workers exposed to asbestos in a refitting shipyard. (3/1116)

To investigate the risks of developing asbestos-related diseases we conducted a historical cohort mortality study on 249 ship repair workers (90 laggers and 159 boiler repairers) in a single U.S. Navy shipyard in Japan. We successfully identified the vital status of 87 (96.7%) laggers and 150 (94.3%) boiler repairers, and, of these, 49 (56.3%) and 65 (43.3%) died, respectively, during the follow-up period from 1947 till the end of 1996. Our in-person interviews with some of the subjects clarified that asbestos exposure was considered to be substantially high in the 1950-60s, decreased thereafter gradually but remained till 1979 in the shipyard. The laggers, who had handled asbestos materials directly, showed a significantly elevated SMR of 2.75 (95% C.I.: 1.08-6.48) for lung cancer. The risk developing the disease was greater in the laggers after a 20-year latency (SMR = 3.42). Pancreatic cancer yielded a greater SMR than unity (7.78, 90% C.I.: 2.07-25.19) in a longer working years group. Four laggers died from asbestosis. The boiler repairers, who had many chances for secondary exposure to asbestos and a few for direct exposure, showed no elevation of the SMR of lung cancer overall, but there was a borderline statistically significant SMR of 2.41 (90% C.I.: 1.05-5.45) in a longer working years group. One boiler repairer died from mesothelioma and four from asbestosis.  (+info)

Reduced tumor necrosis factor-alpha and transforming growth factor-beta1 expression in the lungs of inbred mice that fail to develop fibroproliferative lesions consequent to asbestos exposure. (4/1116)

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta mRNA and protein expression and the degree of fibroproliferative response to inhaled asbestos fibers are clearly reduced in the 129 inbred mouse strain as compared with typical fibrogenesis observed in the C57BL/6 inbred strain. The C57BL/6 mice showed prominent lesions at bronchiolar-alveolar duct (BAD) junctions where asbestos fibers deposit and responding macrophages accumulate. The 129 mice, however, were generally indistinguishable from controls even though the numbers of asbestos fibers deposited in the lungs of all exposed animals were the same. Quantitative morphometry of H&E-stained lung sections comparing the C57BL/6 and 129 mice showed significantly less mean cross-sectional area of the BAD junctions in the 129 animals, apparent at both 48 hours and 4 weeks after exposure. In addition, fewer macrophages had accumulated at these sites in the 129 mice. Nuclear bromodeoxyuridine immunostaining demonstrated that the number of proliferating cells at first alveolar duct bifurcations and in adjacent terminal bronchioles was significantly reduced in the 129 strain compared with C57BL/6 mice at 48 hours after exposure (P < 0.01). TNF-alpha and TGF-beta1 gene expression, as measured by in situ hybridization, was reduced in the 129 mice at 48 hours after exposure, and expression of TNF-alpha and TGF-beta1 protein, as measured by immunohistochemistry, was similarly reduced or absent in the 129 animals. We postulate that the protection afforded the 129 mice is related to reduction of growth factor expression by the bronchiolar-alveolar epithelium and lung macrophages.  (+info)

A retired shipyard worker with rapidly progressive pulmonary interstitial fibrosis. (5/1116)

We present a case of progressive interstitial fibrosis in a retired shipyard worker who was exposed to asbestos during the postwar era of the late 1940s and 1950s, when asbestos exposures in the workplace were not regulated. Forty years later, at 63 years of age, the patient presented with restrictive lung disease. The patient was diagnosed with asbestos-related pleural disease and parenchymal asbestosis. He remained stable for the next 7 years, but then he began to manifest rapid clinical progression, which raised the possibility of an unusual variant of asbestosis, a concomitant interstitial process, or an unrelated disease. Lung biopsy was not undertaken because of the patient's low pulmonary reserve and limited treatment options. An empiric trial of oral steroids was initiated, but his pulmonary status continued to deteriorate and he died of pulmonary failure at 72 years of age. Many diseases result in pulmonary interstitial fibrosis. Ideally, open lung biopsy should be performed, but this procedure inevitably causes complications in many patients with end-stage restrictive lung disease. Furthermore, while the presence of asbestos bodies in tissue sections is a sensitive and specific marker of asbestos exposure, neither this finding nor any other charge is a marker indicative of asbestosis or the severity of asbestosis. With the enactment of the Asbestos Standard in the United States, asbestos exposures have been decreasing in this country. However, industries that produce asbestos products and wastes continue to expand in developing countries. Prevention of asbestos-related lung disease should be a global endeavor, and asbestos exposures should be regulated in both developed and developing countries.  (+info)

Magnetic resonance appearance of asbestos-related benign and malignant pleural diseases. (6/1116)

OBJECTIVES: This study describes the magnetic resonance findings of benign and malignant pleural diseases in asbestos-exposed subjects. METHODS: Thirty patients with a history of asbestos exposure and pleural lesions in chest X-rays and computed tomography scans were examined with a 0.5- and a 1.5-T magnetic resonance unit. The examination protocol included cardiac-gated proton density and T2-weighted images, unenhanced and enhanced (Gd-DTPA; 0.1 mmol/ kg) T1-weighted images in the axial plane and sometimes in another orthogonal plane (sagittal or coronal or both). All the magnetic resonance images were reviewed by 3 experienced observers, who visually evaluated morphologic features, signal intensity, and contrast enhancement of pleural lesions. The diagnosis was established by means of percutaneous biopsy, thoracotomy, and combined clinical and radiological follow-up for at least 3 years. RESULTS: Eighteen patients affected with multiple pleural plaques showed low signal intensity on both unenhanced and enhanced T1-weighted and proton density and T2-weighted images. In 2 of these patients an acute pleural effusion was observed. All the malignant lesions (11 mesotheliomas) and a solitary benign pleural plaque revealed high signal intensity on the proton density and T2-weighted images and inhomogeneous contrast enhancement in the postcontrast T1-weighted images. The sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy of the magnetic resonance imaging in classifying a lesion as suggestive of malignancy were 100%, 95% and 97%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The results point out 2 magnetic resonance signal intensity patterns for asbestos-related pleural lesions: (i) low-signal intensity on unenhanced and enhanced T1-weighted and proton density and T2-weighted images for benign plaques and (ii) nonhomogeneous hyperintensity in T2-weighted and enhanced T1-weighted images for malignant mesotheliomas.  (+info)

Environmental pathology: new directions and opportunities. (7/1116)

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) supports a number of training programs for predoctoral and postdoctoral (D.V.M., M.D., Ph.D.) fellows in toxicology, epidemiology and biostatistics, and environmental pathology. At the Experimental Biology meeting in April 1997, the American Society of Investigative Pathology (ASIP) sponsored a workshop including directors, trainees, and other interested scientists from several environmental pathology programs in medical and veterinary colleges. This workshop and a related session on "Novel Cell Imaging Techniques for Detection of Cell Injury" revealed advances in molecular and cell imaging approaches as reviewed below that have a wide applicability to toxicologic pathology.  (+info)

Asbestos induces activator protein-1 transactivation in transgenic mice. (8/1116)

Activation of activator protein (AP-1) by crocidolite asbestos was examined in vitro in a JB6 P+ cell line stably transfected with AP-1-luciferase reporter plasmid and in vivo using AP-1-luciferase reporter transgenic mice. In in vitro studies, crocidolite asbestos caused a dose- and time-dependent induction of AP-1 activation in cultured JB6 cells. The elevated AP-1 activity persisted for at least 48 h. Crocidolite asbestos also induced AP-1 transactivation in the pulmonary and bronchial tissues of transgenic mice. AP-1 activation was observed at 2 days after intratracheal instillation of the mice with asbestos. At 3 days postexposure, AP-1 activation was elevated 10-fold in the lung tissue and 22-fold in bronchiolar tissue as compared with their controls. The induction of AP-1 activity by asbestos appeared to be mediated through the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase family members, including extracellular signal-regulating protein kinase, Erk1 and Erk2. Aspirin inhibited asbestos-induced AP-1 activity in JB6 cells. Pretreatment of the mice with aspirin also inhibited asbestos-induced AP-1 activation in bronchiolar tissue. The data suggest that further investigation of the role of AP-1 activation in asbestos-induced cell proliferation and carcinogenesis is warranted. In addition, investigation of the potential therapeutic benefits of aspirin in the prevention/amelioration of asbestos-induced cancer is justified.  (+info)