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Cases J. 2009 May 11;2:7498. doi: 10.1186/1757-1626-2-7498.

Mesothelioma in an HIV/AIDS patient without history of asbestos exposure: possible role for immunosuppression in mesothelioma: a case report.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital, 2401 W. Belvedere Ave., Baltimore, MD 21215, USA.


We describe a 41-year-old African-American male who initially presented in respiratory distress. He had a positive history of asthma, cigarette smoking, and only recent possible asbestos exposure six months prior to onset of symptoms. Mesothelioma was suspected after chest radiography and PET-CT, and confirmed by immunohistochemical tissue analysis. We postulate that immunosuppression enhances susceptibility to mesothelioma, since weakened immune systems are present in both HIV/AIDS patients like this 41-year-old man, and elderly patients who compose the population that classically presents with mesothelioma. Furthermore, immunosuppression may be a prerequisite to the development of mesothelioma.

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