Malignant pleural mesothelioma caused by environmental exposure to asbestos or erionite in rural Turkey: CT findings in 84 patients

August 1, 2007

1: AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1993 Sep;161(3):533-7. Sahin AA, Cöplü L, Selçuk ZT, Eryilmaz M, Emri S, Akhan O, Bariş YI, Department of Chest Diseases, Hacettepe University, School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey.

Abstract from PubMed

Malignant pleural mesothelioma in rural Turkey frequently results from environmental exposure to tremolite asbestos or fibrous zeolite (erionite). The aim of this study was to determine the CT features of malignant pleural mesothelioma in patients exposed to asbestos or erionite.

The CT scans of 84 patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma were retrospectively evaluated. Twenty patients had been exposed to erionite and 64 patients had been exposed to asbestos. The CT scans were interpreted by seven observers who did not know the clinical or pathologic findings.

CT scans showed either unilateral pleural thickening or pleural nodules/masses in all patients. Pleural nodules were present in 25 patients and pleural masses in 44 patients. Pleural effusion was found in 61 patients, mediastinal pleural involvement in 78, pleural calcifications in 52, involvement of the interlobar fissures in 64, and volume contraction in 61. Reduced size of the hemithorax was significantly correlated with chest wall involvement.

On the basis of CT findings, the preassigned staging was changed in 21 patients (25%), including 44% of the patients with disease that had been classified as stage I. CT findings were not significantly different between the patients exposed to erionite and those exposed to asbestos.

CONCLUSION. The most common CT findings in cases of malignant pleural mesothelioma were unilateral pleural thickening or pleural nodules/masses with or without effusion. CT provided valuable information on the extent of the disease, which was important for staging. Although the CT features are not pathognomonic, they provide valuable clues to the diagnosis in patients who have been exposed to mineral fibers.

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