Italian Study Provides Valuable Insights on Peritoneal Mesothelioma Risk

There are many types of cancer that, like malignant mesothelioma, are caused by exposure to some type of carcinogenic material. Benzene exposure can lead to leukemia; BPA exposure can lead to breast cancer; and obviously, nicotine and tobacco products can lead to lung cancer. In most cases, the more time has elapsed since last exposure, the lower the risk of diagnosis. But a study conducted by researchers at the University of Eastern Piedmont in Italy has shown that when it comes to asbestos exposure and peritoneal mesothelioma, the risk never decreases.

Research Evaluates Mesothelioma Risk in 50,000 Workers Exposed to Asbestos

The Italian researchers set out to determine whether time passing impacts the risk for both malignant pleural mesothelioma and malignant peritoneal mesothelioma. Though the two conditions impact different organs and areas in the body, both are caused by exposure to asbestos, a material that was widely used in Italy.

It is believed that malignant pleural mesothelioma, which forms in the lining of the cavity that holds the lungs and pleura, is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. Peritoneal mesothelioma, which forms in the lining of the cavity that holds the abdominal organs, is believed to be caused by ingesting the microscopic fibers.

Research Tested Theory that Risk Tapers Off 

Theorizing that the risk for malignant mesothelioma tapers off as time goes by, the researchers analyzed data from 43 groups of asbestos-exposed workers, first comparing data in a model called the mesothelioma multistage model and then a model of what the rate of mesothelioma diagnosis would be if the body eventually cleared itself of asbestos particles.  The analysis of both models confirmed that risk decreases for pleural mesothelioma, but continues for peritoneal mesothelioma.

In their concluding remarks, the researchers indicated that though pleural mesothelioma risk goes down after forty years, asbestos-exposed workers had just as high a risk for peritoneal mesothelioma at twenty years after exposure as they did sixty years later. They did not offer a reason for this difference, but suggested that asbestos-exposed people should remain vigilant throughout their lives.

If you or someone you love has been exposed to asbestos and need information about mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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