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Pathology of occupational lung cancer.

Green FH; Vallyathan V
Occupational respiratory diseases. Merchant JA, Bochlecke BA, Taylor G, eds. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-102, 1986 Sep; :657-668
The relationship between certain occupational exposures and the histogenesis of lung cancer is reviewed with consideration of complicating factors such as environmental exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, and asbestos. The incidence of the four major histological types of lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, small cell undifferentiated carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell undifferentiated carcinoma are used to assess the influence of cigarette smoking and other environmental factors on occupational related lung cancer. All types of lung cancer show a dose response relationship with cigarette smoking. Studies of the distribution of lung cancer by histological type in the general population indicate that in male cigarette smokers the predominant cell type is squamous with lesser frequencies of adenocarcinoma, small cell undifferentiated carcinoma, and large cell undifferentiated tumors. Adenocarcinomas predominate in female smokers and also in reports of cancer rates for nonsmokers of both sexes. Investigations of lung cancer related to asbestos exposure have shown an increase in the number of adenocarcinomas. Asbestos associated tumors were more common in the lower peripheral areas of the lungs. Several studies have also shown a link between ionizing radiation such as occurs in uranium mining and an increased frequency of small cell carcinomas. The relative frequency of this type of tumor increased with increased cumulative exposure to radiation. Increases in small cell undifferentiated carcinomas have been reported in iron ore miners and workers exposed to chloromethyl ether.
NIOSH-Author; Carcinogenesis; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Air-contamination; Respiratory-irritants; Dust-exposure; Histopathology
Publication Date
Document Type
Merchant JA; Bochlecke BA; Taylor G
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Occupational respiratory diseases
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division