What is it about?

The relationship between asbestos related pleural plaques and the risk of lung cancer is not well understood. This study examined two large populations with different types and intensity of asbestos exposure and found that the presence of pleural plaques on chest x-ray or CT scan does not increase the risk of lung cancer. Asbestos exposure itself confers risk for lung cancer, not the presence of pleural plaques.

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Why is it important?

Screening for lung cancer is becoming more widespread internationally. Defining who is at high risk is key to finding lung cancer at an early stage. Knowledge of asbestos exposure and the risk of lung cancer provides important information for individuals and clinicians alike.


I commonly see patients in clinic who are concerned that they have been told they have asbestos related pleural plaque, and they are worried as to what it means for them. This work allows me to reassure patients and their families that the pleural plaques are just a scar from the asbestos and not a sign of, or a risk factor for, more serious diseases such as lung cancer.

fraser Brims
Curtin University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Pleural Plaques and the Risk of Lung Cancer in Asbestos-exposed Subjects, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, January 2020, American Thoracic Society,
DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201901-0096oc.
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