2009 Volume 85 Issue 7 Pages 229-239
While exposure to fibers and particles has been proposed to be associated with several different lung malignancies including mesothelioma, the mechanism for the carcinogenesis is not fully understood. Along with mineralogical observation, we have analyzed forty-four major and trace elements in extracted asbestos bodies (fibers and proteins attached to them) with coexisting fiber-free ferruginous protein bodies from extirpative lungs of individuals with malignant mesothelioma. These observations together with patients’ characteristics suggest that inhaled iron-rich asbestos fibers and dust particles, and excess iron deposited by continuous cigarette smoking would induce ferruginous protein body formation resulting in ferritin aggregates in lung tissue. Chemical analysis of ferruginous protein bodies extracted from lung tissues reveals anomalously high concentrations of radioactive radium, reaching millions of times higher concentration than that of seawater. Continuous and prolonged internal exposure to hotspot ionizing radiation from radium and its daughter nuclides could cause strong and frequent DNA damage in lung tissue, initiate different types of tumour cells, including malignant mesothelioma cells, and may cause cancers.
(Communicated by Takashi SUGIMURA, M.J.A.)