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Oncogene. 2007 Oct 25;26(49):6959-67. Epub 2007 May 14.

Eighth international mesothelioma interest group.

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  • 1Thoracic Oncology, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, USA.


The eighth International Mesothelioma Interest Group (IMIG) meeting was held in Chicago, IL, United States, in 19-22 October 2006 to discuss mesothelioma - the cancer often linked to asbestos exposure. It is a very aggressive malignancy with a median survival of less than 1 year from diagnosis. Millions of people have been exposed worldwide to asbestos, especially during the second half of the twentieth century when asbestos use increased significantly. The tons of asbestos utilized in the past remain a health hazard for current and future generations because asbestos is difficult to be disposed off. This makes asbestos and mesothelioma research a public health issue in addition to a medical problem. Moreover, the very high costs of asbestos litigation have a significant impact on the whole economy. In the United States, up until 2001, defendant companies had paid 54 billion dollars in claims and estimated future liabilities ranged from 145 to 210 billion. Therefore, asbestos research is of great interest to a large audience that includes patients, millions of asbestos-exposed individuals, scientists, physicians, public health officials, politicians, unions of asbestos workers, lawyers and the public at large. During the past few years, there has been significant progress in understanding the process of mineral fiber carcinogenesis and mesothelioma pathogenesis. With improved understanding of the pathogenesis of mesothelioma, new diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic options are being developed. A total of 247 papers were presented at the IMIG: the abstracts of these presentations were published in Lung Cancer, Supplement 1, October 2006. Here, experts in different disciplines critically review some of the most exciting presentations of the IMIG meeting. The result is a comprehensive review of the research field of asbestos carcinogenesis and mesothelioma, and of the progress that has been made in recent years in both basic and clinical sciences.

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