Estimating the induction period of pleural mesothelioma from aggregate data on asbestos consumption

J Occup Environ Med. 2003 Oct;45(10):1107-15. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000091682.95314.01.


This study aimed to estimate the induction period from causal action of asbestos exposure to the manifestation of mesothelioma. We included the 9 countries for which we could find published aggregate data on the use of raw asbestos for a relevant time period. We extracted the annual numbers of cases of pleural cancer among men from the World Health Organization mortality database for those years using the International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision, classification. For the Scandinavian countries, we used published national cancer incidence data. In autoregressive Poisson regression modeling, we invoked different time lags of the mean annual use of asbestos to specify which time span produced the best correlation between the 2 time series. The ecologic analysis suggested that the most probable estimate for the mean induction period (use versus morbidity at society level) is approximately 25 years.

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos / toxicity*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / epidemiology
  • Mesothelioma / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Pleural Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Risk
  • Time Factors
  • World Health Organization


  • Asbestos