The Epidemiologic Characteristics of Malignant Mesothelioma Cases in Korea: Findings of the Asbestos Injury Relief System from 2011-2015

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Sep 23;18(19):10007. doi: 10.3390/ijerph181910007.


(1) Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the epidemiological characteristics of malignant mesothelioma in Korea by investigating cases compensated under the asbestos injury relief system. (2) Methods: A total of 407 compensated cases between 2011 and 2015 were reviewed using medical records and resident registrations in order to investigate the dates of diagnosis and death. Asbestos exposure and patients' general characteristics were investigated through face-to-face interviews. The standardized incidence ratio was calculated as the number of observations from 2005 to 2014 per exposure region in Korea, using the mid-annual population of each region in 2009 as the standard population. (3) Results: Among the 407 cases, 65.1% were male. The pleura and peritoneum were affected in 76.9% and 23.1% of cases, respectively. For peritoneal mesothelioma, the median survival duration was longer (p = 0.005), and the proportion of affected women was higher than that in pleural mesothelioma. The standardized incidence ratio (95% CI) by province of primary exposure was Chungnam 3.33 (2.51-4.35), Ulsan 1.85 (0.97-3.21), and Seoul 1.32 (1.06-1.63). (4) Conclusions: Although the representativeness of the data is limited, it is sufficient to assume the epidemiologic characteristics of malignant mesothelioma, help improve the compensation system, and contribute to future policies.

Keywords: asbestos; incidence; latent period; malignant mesothelioma; survival.