The carcinogens in cigarette smoke are distinct from asbestos. However, an understanding of their differential effects on lung adenocarcinoma development remains elusive. We investigated loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and the p53 mutation in 132 lung adenocarcinomas, for which asbestos body burden (AB; in numbers per gram of dry lung) was measured using adjacent normal lung. All cases were classified into 9 groups based on a matrix of cumulative smoking (CS in pack‑years; CS=0, 0<CS<25, ≥25 CS) and AB (AB=0, 0<AB<1,000, ≥1,000 AB). AB=0 indicates a lower level than the detection limit of ~100. LOH frequency increased only slightly with the elevation of CS in the AB=0 groups. In the AB>0 groups, LOH frequency increased as AB and/or CS was elevated and was significantly higher in the ≥1,000 AB, ≥25 CS group (p=0.032). p53 mutation frequency was the lowest in the AB=0, CS=0 group, increased as AB and/or CS rose, and was significantly higher in the ≥1,000 AB, ≥25 CS group (p=0.039). p53 mutations characteristic of smoking were frequently observed in the CS>0 groups contrary to non-specific mutations in the CS=0, AB>0 groups. Combined effects of asbestos and smoking were suggested by LOH and p53 analyses. Sole exposure to asbestos did not increase LOH frequency but increased non‑specific p53 mutations. These findings indicate that the major carcinogenic mechanism of asbestos may be tumor promotion, acting in an additive or synergistic manner, contributing to the genotoxic effect of smoking. Since this study was based on a general cancer center''s experience, the limited sample size did not permit the consideration that the result was conclusive. Further investigation with a large sample size is needed to establish the mechanism of asbestos-induced lung carcinogenesis.