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Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma : The Puzzling Role of Gene-Environment Interaction

Giuseppe U. Di Maria, MD, FCCP;; Pietro Comba, PhD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Catania, Italy
 ,  Rome, Italy
 ,  Dr. Di Maria is a member of the Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Medicina Specialistica (Malattie Respiratorie), Università di Catania. Dr. Comba is a member of the Dipartimento Ambiente e Prevenzione Primaria Instituto Superiore di Sanità.

Correspondence to: Giuseppe U. Di Maria, MD, FCCP, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Medicina Specialistica (Malattie Respiratorie), Università di Catania, Catania, Italy; e-mail: gdimaria@qubisoft.it



Chest. 2004;125(5):1604-1607. doi:10.1378/chest.125.5.1604
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Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a relatively uncommon and yet incurable tumor that is aggressive and highly lethal. After the occurrence of mesothelioma was first reported in 1960 in workers exposed to blue asbestos crocidolite,1 a huge number of experimental and epidemiologic studies has proved causality between asbestos mineral fibers and mesothelioma,2 whereas relatively few efforts have been made to understand the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of and the susceptibility to this tumor. Yet, in the last 2 decades geographic clusters of mesothelioma have been reported in populations with nonprofessional environmental exposure to asbestos,36 and other mineral fibers including zeolite7 and fluoro-edenite,8 a new amphibole end-member, which is chemically different from known asbestos types.9

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