Pathogenic effects of asbestos

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1977 Dec;101(12):623-8.


The enormous increase in the use of asbestos during this century has necessitated the intensive study of its pathogenic effects. The occurrence of pulmonary parenchymal and pleural fibrosis and an increased prevalence of pulmonary and gastrointestinal carcinoma and of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma have been established. A relationship, also, to laryngeal carcinoma is probable. Mesothelioma has been associated with indirect occupational, domestic, and neighborhood exposure, and the possibility of a similar correlation of pulmonary carcinoma with low exposure has been suggested. Pulmonary fibrosis and pleural plaques have been demonstrated under these circumstances. The physical characteristics of the asbestos fiber appear to be the principal factors in its carcinogenic action. The ability of fine, short fibers, especially fragmented chrysotile, to reach the pleura would appear to account for many of the pathogenetic and anatomical features of asbestos-related disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Animals
  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Asbestos / pharmacology
  • Asbestosis / epidemiology
  • Asbestosis / etiology
  • Asbestosis / pathology
  • Cells / drug effects
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pleura / pathology
  • Pleural Diseases / etiology
  • Pleural Diseases / pathology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • United States


  • Asbestos