Asbestos-related mesothelioma: factors discriminating between pleural and peritoneal sites

Br J Ind Med. 1983 May;40(2):145-52. doi: 10.1136/oem.40.2.145.


Up to the end of 1980, 144 confirmed cases of mesothelioma were identified among employees of an organisation using asbestos in manufacturing and insulation. The primary site was peritoneal in 74 cases, pleural in 66, and undetermined in four. All employees had been exposed to amphibole asbestos, and evidence from different factories confirmed the predominant role of crocidolite in the production of mesothelioma. The ratio of pleural to peritoneal sites showed a continuous change when related to the year of first exposure, varying from 5:1 pleural to peritoneal before 1921 to 1:3 after 1950. The strong temporal relationship appeared to reflect progressive dust suppression, including the non-fibrous dusts present in insulation materials and perhaps also the degree to which the fibres had been opened. Other predisposing factors were related to the degree of individual exposure, the peritoneal site being associated preferentially with longer and heavier exposures.

MeSH terms

  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Asbestos, Crocidolite
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / etiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Asbestos, Crocidolite
  • Asbestos