Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Pleural Plaques

  • Jaclyn L. JerzEmail author
Reference work entry


Asbestos-related pleural fibrosis; Fibrous pleural plaque; Hyaline pleural plaques


Pleural plaques are focal, benign tumorlike lesions that arise from the epithelial lining of the thoracic cavity in response to chronic injury. They almost always occur in the setting of asbestos exposure but may also be seen in other pneumoconioses. Pleural plaques are the most common manifestation of asbestos inhalation and are an indicator of asbestos exposure according to the American Thoracic Society (2003). The specificity of pleural plaques as a marker for asbestos exposure is 80–90%. Plaques take years to develop and are rarely seen within 20 years after the first exposure; incidence increases with time from first exposure.

The process of pleural plaque formation is not itself malignant. However plaque formation implies a certain level of asbestos exposure, as the threshold for disease has been reached. Determining the absolute amount and type of dust to which a person has...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Guidotti, T. L., Miller, A., Christiani, D., et al. (2004). Ad Hoc Statement Committee of the Scientific Assembly on Environmental and Occupational Health of the American Thoracic Society. Diagnosis and initial management of nonmalignant diseases related to asbestos. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 170, 691–715.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hillerdal, G. (1980). The pathogenesis of pleural plaques and pulmonary asbestosis: Possibilities and impossibilities. European Journal of Respiratory Diseases, 61(3), 129–138.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Paris, C., Martin, A., Letourneux, M., & Wild, P. (2008). Modelling prevalence and incidence of fibrosis and pleural plaques in asbestos-exposed populations for screening and follow-up: A cross-sectional study. Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source, 7, 30-069X-7-30.Google Scholar
  4. Walker, C. M., Takasugi, J. E., Chung, J. H., Reddy, G. P., Done, S. L., Pipavath, S. N., et al. (2012). Tumorlike conditions of the pleura. Radiographics: A Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc, 32(4), 971–985.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Genomic MedicineHouston Methodist HospitalHoustonUSA