Carcinogenicity of fibrous glass: pleural response in the rat in relation to fiber dimension

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1977 Mar;58(3):587-603. doi: 10.1093/jnci/58.3.587.


Seventeen fibrous glasses of diverse type or dimensional distribution induced different incidences of malignant mesenchymal neoplasms when implanted in the pleurae of female Osborne-Mendel rats for periods of more than 1 year. Neoplastic response correlated well with the dimensional distribution of fibers. Fibers less than or equal to 1.5 mu in diameter and greater than 8 mu in length yielded the highest probability of pleural sarcomas, and probability trends suggested that pleural sarcoma incidence increased with increasing lengths of fibers with diameters of less than 1.5 mu, Morphologic observations indicated that fibers less than or equal to 8 mu in length were inactivated by phagocytosis. In fibers greater than 8 mu in length, the correlation of carcinogenicity witth increasing length was difficult to explain. Since neoplastic response to a variety of types of durable fibers, particularly asbestos fibers, was similar, our experiments reinforce the idea that the carcinogenicity of fibers depends on dimension and durability rather than physicochemical properties and emphasize that all respirable fibers be viewed with caution.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens*
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glass*
  • Phagocytes / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Rats
  • Risk
  • Sarcoma, Experimental / etiology*
  • Sarcoma, Experimental / metabolism
  • Sarcoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surface Properties


  • Carcinogens
  • Collagen