Industry, occupation, and exposure history of mesothelioma patients in the U.S. National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank, 2006-2022


Background: Malignant mesothelioma is associated with environmental and occupational exposure to certain mineral fibers, especially asbestos. This study aims to examine work histories of mesothelioma patients and their survival time.

Method: Using the NIOSH Industry and Occupation Computerized Coding System, we mapped occupations and industries recorded for 748 of 1444 patients in the U.S. National Mesothelioma Virtual Bank (NMVB) during the period 2006-2022. Descriptive and survival analyses were conducted.

Results: Among the 1023 industries recorded for those having mesothelioma, the most frequent cases were found for those in manufacturing (n = 225, 22.0%), construction (138, 13.5%), and education services (66, 6.5%); among the 924 occupation records, the most frequent cases were found for those in construction and extraction (174, 18.8%), production (145, 15.7%), and management (84, 9.1%). Males (583) or persons aged >40 years (658) at the time of diagnosis tended to have worked in industries traditionally associated with mesothelioma (e.g., construction), while females (163) or persons aged 20-40 years (27) tended to have worked in industries not traditionally associated with mesothelioma (e.g., health care). Asbestos, unknown substances, and chemical solvents were the most frequently reported exposure, with females most often reporting an unknown substance. A multi-variable Cox Hazard Regression analysis showed that significant prognostic factors associated with decreased survival in mesothelioma cases are sex (male) and work experience in utility-related industry, while factor associated with increased survival are epithelial or epithelioid histological type, prior history of surgery and immunotherapy, and industry experience in accommodation and food services.

Conclusion: The NMVB has the potential of serving as a sentinel surveillance mechanism for identifying industries and occupations not traditionally associated with mesothelioma. Results indicate the importance of considering all potential sources of asbestos exposures including occupational, environmental, and extra-occupational exposures when evaluating mesothelioma patients and advising family members.

Authors: Yuhe Gao, Jacek M Mazurek, Yaming Li, David Blackley, David N Weissman, Shirley V Burton, Waqas Amin, Douglas Landsittel, Michael J Becich, Ye Ye
; Full Source: Environmental research 2022 Dec 29;115085. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.115085.