Mesothelioma mortality in asbestos workers: implications for models of carcinogenesis and risk assessment

Br J Cancer. 1982 Jan;45(1):124-35. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1982.15.


Mesothelioma death rates in asbestos workers appear to be proportional to the 3rd or 4th power of time from first exposure under a wide range of conditions of exposure for both pleural and peritoneal tumours, though the peritoneal:pleural ratio depends on fibre dimension and type. Age at first exposure has little or no influence, however, which supports the "multi-stage" model of carcinogenesis under which the increase in most cancer incidence rates with age is due to a constant incidence of genetic or epigenetic accidents, rather than to progressive generalized changes in regulatory or immune function. These relationships provide a simple basis for risk assessment, and support the suggestion that mesotheliomas may constitute a high proportion of cancer deaths resulting from early exposure to asbestos.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Asbestos / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mesothelioma / etiology
  • Mesothelioma / mortality*
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • North America
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Peritoneal Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / etiology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Risk
  • Time Factors


  • Asbestos