August 4, 1978

Familial Mesothelioma After Intense Asbestos Exposure at Home

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Studies Section, Clinical Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute (Dr Li); the Department of Medicine, Sidney Farber Cancer Institute (Dr Lokich); the Department of Pathology, New England Deaconess Hospital (Dr Lapey); the Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School (Dr Wilkins); and the Overholt Thoracic Clinic (Dr Neptune), Boston.

JAMA. 1978;240(5):467. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290050057022

MESOTHELIOMA is primarily an occupational disease of asbestos workers, but the neoplasm may also develop after intense exposure to asbestos outside the workplace.1 This report of pleural mesotheliomas in the wife and a daughter of an asbestos handler suggests that gross asbestos contamination of the home can be a serious health hazard.

Report of Cases  Patient 1 (Figure), the father, worked as a pipe insulator at a shipyard for approximately 25 years (1940 to 1965). Pulmonary asbestosis was diagnosed at age 60 years in 1966. He also smoked one to two packs of cigarettes daily for several decades. In 1977, metastatic adenocarcinoma in the left upper lobe of the lung developed and the patient died. Findings from an autopsy demonstrated severe pulmonary asbestosis and lung cancer.Patient 2, the mother, was in good health until a right pleural effusion developed in 1967 at age 50 years. A right thoracotomy