Epidemiology of mesothelioma of the pericardium and tunica vaginalis testis

Annals of Epidemiology 2017 April 14 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Mezei G, Chang ET, Mowat FS, Moolgavkar SH


Malignant mesothelioma most commonly arises in the pleura and peritoneum but also occurs rarely at other anatomical sites with mesothelial tissue, namely, the pericardium and tunica vaginalis testis (TVT). This review provides a better understanding of the epidemiology of mesothelioma of these extrapleural sites.
We conducted a systematic review of the epidemiologic and clinical literature on pericardial mesothelioma and mesothelioma of the TVT. We also analyzed U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results cancer registry data to describe incidence patterns of these malignancies.
An etiologic role of asbestos exposure has been hypothesized for pericardial and TVT mesotheliomas, but no analytical case-control epidemiologic studies exist to test this relationship. A substantial proportion of cases with these malignancies report no known asbestos exposure. In large occupational cohorts with heavy asbestos exposures, no cases of pericardial or TVT mesothelioma have been reported. Trends in the incidence of these malignancies do not match those of pleural mesothelioma, which correspond to historical trends of commercial asbestos use. A male preponderance of pericardial mesothelioma is not evident.
In the absence of analytic epidemiologic studies, the etiologic role of environmental risk factors for mesothelioma of the pericardium and TVT remains elusive.