Study Suggests Genetic Link to Mesothelioma, According to Surviving Mesothelioma

Italian scientists say siblings who work together around asbestos are also more likely to get sick together with mesothelioma.

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Genetic Risk for Mesothelioma?

The most common clusters were those with affected siblings and unaffected parents.

Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) April 25, 2014

A new study of groups or “clusters” of mesothelioma cases in Italy finds that the disease can run in families, especially those with a common history of asbestos exposure. An article about the new study has just been posted on the Surviving Mesothelioma website and can be read by clicking here.

Scientists with Sapienza University and the Lazio Regional Health Service in Rome, along with industrial disease experts from Viterbo, Italy, analyzed mesothelioma cases from a database representing about 10 percent of the Italian population. They found that 3.4% of the 997 mesothelioma cases in a 32-year span tended to occur in clusters and could have a genetic link.

“The most common clusters were those with affected siblings and unaffected parents,” reports Sapienza University Associate Professor Valeria Ascoli, the study’s lead author. “Asbestos exposure was occupational, household, environmental, or not attributable for insufficient information.”

The new report, published in Cancer Epidemiology, found that the highest number of familial clusters of mesothelioma cases occurred among siblings who worked in the same occupational environment. Researchers theorize that these individuals’ genes may interact with asbestos to cause the disease.

“We still don’t know why only a small fraction of people exposed to asbestos ever develop mesothelioma,” observes Cancer Monthly’s Managing Editor Alex Strauss. “If science can give us a better understanding of the genetics behind mesothelioma development, it could potentially open the door to targeted screening, earlier diagnosis, and even individualized treatments.”

For the details of the new study and links to other valuable mesothelioma resources, see Can Mesothelioma Be Genetic?, available now on the Surviving Mesothelioma website.

Ascoli, V et al, “Familial malignant mesothelioma: A population-based study in Central Italy (1980-2012)”, March 27, 2014, Cancer Epidemiology, Epub ahead of print,

For nearly ten years, Surviving Mesothelioma has brought readers the most important and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of mesothelioma. All Surviving Mesothelioma news is gathered and reported directly from the peer-reviewed medical literature. Written for patients and their loved ones, Surviving Mesothelioma news helps families make more informed decisions.


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