The committee was charged with reviewing evidence on a widely used material that is
known to cause respiratory malignancy. Asbestos has been extensively investigated,
epidemiologically and experimentally, as a cause of mesothelioma and lung cancer.
However, its potential to cause malignancy at other sites that may also receive a
substantial dose of asbestos fibers has not been as extensively investigated.
The committee considered the existing evidence from in vitro and animal
experimentation to gain an understanding of mechanisms of carcinogenesis that might
plausibly apply to the tissues in question and to determine the extent of
toxicologic support for the development of cancers at the specified sites following
asbestos exposure. Much of the information reviewed by the committee came from
cohort studies of workers that focused on investigating respiratory effects and that
reported information on risks of other diseases, including the cancers covered by
this committee's charge, only incidentally. Other evidence came from case-control
studies that were directed at the causes of the cancers of interest but that were
not specifically designed to address asbestos exposure, and their exposure
assessments were of varied quality.
This study was supported by Contract N01-OD-4-2139
between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institutes of Health. Any
opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication
are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the
organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.
NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing
Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of
the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the
Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were
chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
© 2006, National Academy of