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Logo of neuroncolAboutAuthor GuidelinesEditorial BoardNeuro-Oncology
Neuro Oncol. 1999 July; 1(3): 221–230.
PMCID: PMC1920745

CNS tumors and exposure to acrylonitrile: inconsistency between experimental and epidemiology studies.


Acrylonitrile is a potent CNS tumorigen in rats leading to concern that it may be a tumorigen in humans. There have been 12 epidemiology studies of 37,352 workers exposed to acrylonitrile which evaluate CNS cancers. We summarize and evaluate these epidemiology studies for CNS cancers using the methods of meta-analysis. Our analyses indicate that workers with acrylonitrile exposure have null findings for CNS cancer (relative risk = 1.1, 95% confidence interval 0.8-1.5), which are in stark contrast to the projected risk to humans using the rat findings (relative risk = 3.5, 95% confidence interval 3.0-4.0). We discuss several explanations for the inconsistency between animal and human findings, including the possibility that the acrylonitrile-induced rat CNS tumors may not be relevant to humans. Given the rarity of CNS tumors in humans and a lack of understanding of the causal mechanisms of these tumors in rats, however, a more definitive conclusion will have to await additional experimental and observational data. Nevertheless, the epidemiology evidence indicates that acrylonitrile is not a potent CNS tumorigen.

Articles from Neuro-Oncology are provided here courtesy of Society for Neuro-Oncology and Oxford University Press