The effects of the inhalation of asbestos in rats

Br J Cancer. 1974 Mar;29(3):252-69. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1974.65.


Two experiments in which SPF Wistar rats were exposed by inhalation to dust clouds of the UICC standard reference samples for periods of between one day and 2 years are described. All the samples of asbestos produced asbestosis which continued to progress after removal from exposure but only a little fibrosis was observed in control rats. Lung tumours, ranging in severity from adenomata to squamous carcinomata, were produced by all samples but in the controls there were only a few adenomata and none of the more serious tumours. Of the 20 tumours which metastasized, 16 occurred after exposure to one or other of the 2 chrysotile samples. In addition, a total of 11 mesotheliomata occurred, 4 of which were with crocidolite and 4 with Canadian chrysotile. Two of the mesotheliomata occurred with only one day's exposure to asbestos. There was a positive association between asbestosis and lung tumours.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / etiology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar / etiology
  • Adenoma / etiology
  • Animals
  • Asbestosis / complications*
  • Asbestosis / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dust
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Female
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / etiology
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / etiology
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Dust