Epidemic of mesothelioma in Egypt

Lung Cancer. 2005 Jul;49 Suppl 1:S17-20. Epub 2005 Apr 7. [Link]

Gaafar RM, Eldin NH.

Department of Medical Oncology, NCI, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt. rababgaafar@link.net


Asbestos has been recognized in Egypt since a long time as ancient Egyptians were using it in mummification. Mesothelioma in Egypt is mainly attributed to environmental origin with a high incidence of women and young adults affected. The incidence of mesothelioma is rising in Egypt. Epidemiological data for 635 malignant mesothelioma (MM) patients over 4 years in the third Millennium were collected from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cairo University and Abbassia Chest hospital. This number is more than four times the number diagnosed in the previous 11 years at NCI. A clinicopathological study was done for 100 malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) patients and showed that asbestos exposure and SV40 positivity were evident in 67% and 60% of cases, respectively. The median survival was 14.3 months and the 1 and 2 year survival rates were 60% and 27%, respectively. Evaluation of p53 and pRb immunohistochemically showed that pRb alteration was related to poor survival. Other biological prognostic factors such as EGFR, HER-2, glutathione S transferase (GST) and MDR were evaluated in 50 cases. Overexpression of EGFR was correlated with lack of clinical benefit and poor survival. GST potentiated the effect of EGFR on survival. The use of EGFR inhibitors may have a role in the treatment of MM. Asbestos in Cairo is a silent killer and measures toward eliminating it entirely or at least strictly controlling human contact with this dangerous carcinogen have to be taken in order to combat the coming epidemic of mesothelioma in Egypt.