Curated Journal Articles on Mesothelioma

Association between mesothelioma and non-occupational asbestos exposure: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Environmental Health 2018 December 19 [Link]

Xu R, Barg FK, Emmett EA, Wiebe DJ, Hwang WT


The risk of mesothelioma has been shown to be associated with exposure to asbestos fibers. Most of the existing literature focuses on occupational exposure; however, non-occupational asbestos exposure has also been identified as an important risk factor.
To estimate the association between mesothelioma and non-occupational asbestos exposure, and evaluate control recruitment and exposure measurement methods.
A systematic literature review was conducted to identify case-control (CC) and cohort studies that examined the association between mesothelioma and non-occupational exposure to asbestos, including neighborhood, domestic, and household exposure. Meta-analysis was performed to estimate a summary relative risk estimate (SRRE) and 95% confidence interval using random-effects models. Subgroup analyses were also conducted by exposure type, gender, region, and fiber type.
Twenty CC and 7 cohort studies were selected. Controls in CC studies were selected from the general population (55%), hospital records (18%), cancer registry (23%) and a combination of population and hospital records (5%). Multiple methods were used to measure neighborhood exposure (e.g., linear distance and direction of residence from an asbestos factory), domestic (e.g., whether living with an asbestos worker) and household exposure (e.g., whether involved in asbestos-containing home improvement projects). Primary meta-analyses suggested a SRRE of mesothelioma of 5.33 (95%CI: 2.53, 11.23) from neighborhood exposure, 4.31 (95%CI, 2.58, 7.20) from domestic exposure, and 2.41 (95%CI, 1.30, 4.48) from household exposure with large I2 statistics ranging from 83-99%.
Non-occupational asbestos exposure is significantly associated with an elevated risk of mesothelioma. Funnel plots indicated a potential of publication bias. Some SRREs should be interpreted with cautions because of high between-studies heterogeneity.

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