Lymph nodes & spleen, nonlymphoid
Lymph nodes-inclusions, pigment, ectopic cells or tissue

Topic Completed: 1 February 2014

Minor changes: 20 July 2020

Revised: 1 February 2019, last major update February 2014

Copyright: 2003-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Asbestos [title] lymph nodes

Jayalakshmi Balakrishna, M.D.
Abdelsalam Sharabi, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 317
Page views in 2020 to date: 220
Cite this page: Balakrishna J. Asbestos. website. Accessed September 30th, 2020.
  • Also called Ferruginous bodies
  • Usually due to industrial / occupational exposure
  • Most common in thoracic / hilar lymph nodes
  • Concentration of asbestos fibers in lymph nodes is 2 - 3x higher than in lung
Clinical features
  • Inhaled asbestos fibers have iron protein-mucopolysaccharide coating
  • Enlarged lymph nodes are common
  • Associated symptoms / signs of pulmonary asbestosis
  • Biopsy of affected lymph node
  • Bleach digestion for confirmation
Radiology description
  • Mediastinal / hilar lymphadenopathy
Prognostic factors
  • Pulmonary asbestosis is a risk factor for lung carcinoma and mesothelioma
Case reports
Clinical images

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Asbestos with mesothelioma
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Enlarged supraclavicular node

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Epiphrenic node on right

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Node inside lesion

Gross description
  • Lymph nodes may be enlarged but show no significant abnormalities on cut surface
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Asbestos bodies are golden-brown, beaded, or dumbbell shaped structures with a thin, translucent core
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Asbestos bodies - BAL fluid

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Pseudoasbestos bodies

Differential diagnosis
  • Pseudoasbestos bodies
  • Other ferruginous bodies
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