Clinical practice guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma

Nico van Zandwijk


The most common type of mesothelioma is malignant pleural mesothelioma, a nearly invariably lethal tumour of the pleura. Very seldom diagnosed prior to the advent of widespread asbestos mining in the early to mid twentieth century, this disease has sharply risen in incidence over the last five decades (1). The worldwide consumption of asbestos has peaked in the 1980s consequent to the call for an asbestos ban in several developed countries. However, in recent years the use of this carcinogenic mineral and its products seem to get an unprecedented popularity in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America (2). The tragic consequences of increased asbestos use in these parts of the world are that many more mesothelioma cases will be diagnosed in the future and that a major carcinogenic legacy is left behind for next generations. Asbestos has also been characterized as a time-bomb due to the long latency between first asbestos exposure and occurrence of disease (Linton et al.).