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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2001 Sep;74(7):459-69.

Asbestos exposure and malignant lymphomas--a review of the epidemiological literature.

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Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


There has been a significant number of case reports on the occurrence of lymphomas in people previously exposed to asbestos. This raises the question of whether corresponding results are available from analytical epidemiological studies. In the present review of the epidemiological literature, we describe the results of the six cohort and 16 case-control studies that - according to our research - were published up to 1999 and, directly or indirectly. shed light on the above question. In summarizing the results of these studies, we have distinguished between non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), chronic lymphatic leukemia (CLL) and plasmocytoma/ multiple myeloma (MM). A causal relationship between asbestos exposure and the subsequent development of lymphomas cannot be derived from the available results. However, since quite a number of studies and the combined analysis indicate a (weakly) increased risk, this question should be considered directly in future epidemiological studies. Such studies should address separately the various sub-entities, employing the latest internationally agreed classification, and should also use the latest methods of quantifying exposure.

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