Mesotheliomas in Lebanon: Witnessing a Change in Epidemiology

Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention 2016 [Link]

Kattan J, Eid R, Kourie HR, Farhat F, Ghosn M, Ghorra C, Tomb R


Mesotheliomas are relatively rare tumors in Lebanon. The only previous study goes back to 14 years ago, when we published epidemiological characteristics of mesotheliomas in Lebanon, showing that the pleural location accounted for the vast majority of cases, with clear evidence of asbestos exposure from the Eternit factory of Chekka region. The objective of this current study was to estimate the incidence of mesothelioma in the past decade and to identify its epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic characteristics, making comparisons with our first study published in 2001.
Between 2002 and 2014, patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma at Hotel-Dieu de France University Hospital were investigated. Epidemiological data focusing on asbestos exposure history were collected from medical records and interviews with the families.
A total of 26 patients were diagnosed with mesothelioma, 21 of which were successfully investigated. The mean age of these 21 patients is 62.5 (19-82). Only 3 (14.29%) are women. 18 (85.71%) were smokers. Among the 21 available mesotheliomas, 15 (71.4%) are pleural, while 5 (23.8%) are peritoneal and 1 (4.8%) pericardial. Only 60% of patients with pleural mesothelioma and 50% of those with an obvious exposure to asbestos lived and/or worked in Chekka region. The mean time of asbestos exposure in patients with mesothelioma is 24.5 (1-50) years and the mean latency is 37.4 (4-61) years. Of the 21 patients, 10 (47.6%) underwent surgery during their treatment, 16 (76.2%) received chemotherapy and 3 (14.3%) received best supportive care.
Compared to the previous study (1991-2000), substantial changes in the epidemiology of mesothelioma in Lebanon were observed, such as an increase in peritoneal localizations and a lower correlation with Chekka region asbestos contamination.