The aim of this study was to investigate the hypothesis of an increased risk of pleural mesothelioma due to co-exposure to asbestos and refractory ceramic fibres (RCF) compared to asbestos exposure alone. Males were selected from a French case-control study conducted in 1987-1993 and from the French National Mesothelioma Surveillance Program in 1998-2006. Two population controls were frequency matched to each case by year of birth. Complete job histories were collected and occupational asbestos and RCF exposures were assessed using job exposure matrices. The dose-response relationships for asbestos exposure were estimated from an unconditional logistic regression model in subjects exposed to asbestos only (group 1) and subjects exposed to both asbestos and RCF (group 2). A total of 988 cases and 1125 controls ever-exposed to asbestos were included. A dose-response relationship was observed in both groups but it was stronger in group 2. In comparison with subjects exposed at the minimum value of the cumulative index of exposure, the odds ratio was 2.6 (95% CI 1.9-3.4) for subjects exposed to 75 fibres · mL(-1) · year(-1) in group 1 increasing to 12.4 (95% CI 4.6-33.7) in group 2. Our results suggest that the pleural carcinogenic effect of occupational asbestos exposure may be modified by additional exposure to RCF.
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