Asbestos-associated pulmonary disease

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2023 Mar 1;29(2):76-82. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000939. Epub 2023 Jan 11.


Purpose of review: Exposure to asbestos can cause both benign and malignant, pulmonary and pleural diseases. In the current era of low asbestos exposure, it is critical to be aware of complications from asbestos exposure; as they often arise after decades of exposure, asbestos-related pulmonary complications include asbestosis, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, benign asbestos-related pleural effusions and malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Recent findings: Multiple recent studies are featured in this review, including a study evaluating imaging characteristics of asbestos with other fibrotic lung diseases, a study that quantified pleural plaques on computed tomography imaging and its impact on pulmonary function, a study that examined the risk of lung cancer with pleural plaques among two large cohorts and a review of nonasbestos causes of malignant mesothelioma.

Summary: Asbestos-related pulmonary and pleural diseases continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality. This review summarizes the current advances in this field and highlights areas that need additional research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos* / toxicity
  • Asbestosis* / complications
  • Asbestosis* / diagnostic imaging
  • Asbestosis* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases* / complications
  • Lung Neoplasms* / chemically induced
  • Mesothelioma* / etiology
  • Mesothelioma* / pathology
  • Mesothelioma, Malignant* / complications
  • Pleural Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Pleural Diseases* / etiology
  • Pleural Effusion* / etiology


  • Asbestos