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1.  An Examination of Male and Female Odds Ratios by BMI, Cigarette Smoking and Alcohol Consumption for Cancers of the Oral Cavity, Pharynx and Larynx in Pooled Data from 15 Case-Control Studies 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(9):1217-1231.
Greater tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption and lower body mass index (BMI) increase odds ratios (OR) for oral cavity, oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and laryngeal cancers; however, there are no comprehensive sex-specific comparisons of ORs for these factors.
We analyzed 2,441 oral cavity (925 females and 1,516 males), 2,297 oropharynx (564 females and 1,733 males), 508 hypopharynx (96 females and 412 males) and 1,740 larynx (237 females and 1,503 males) cases from the INHANCE consortium of 15 head and neck cancer case-control studies. Controls numbered from 7,604 to 13,829 subjects, depending on analysis. Analyses fitted linear-exponential excess ORs models.
ORs were increased in underweight (<18.5 BMI) relative to overweight and obese categories (≥25 BMI) for all sites and were homogeneous by sex. ORs by smoking and drinking in females compared to males were significantly greater for oropharyngeal cancer (p<0.01 for both factors), suggestive for hypopharyngeal cancer (p=0.05 and p=0.06, respectively), but homogeneous for oral cavity (p=0.56 and p=0.64) and laryngeal (p=0.18 and p=0.72) cancers.
The extent that OR modifications of smoking and drinking by sex for oropharyngeal and, possibly, hypopharyngeal cancers represent true associations, or derive from unmeasured confounders or unobserved sex-related disease subtypes (e.g., human papillomavirus positive oropharyngeal cancer) remains to be clarified.
PMCID: PMC3304584  PMID: 21744095
Alcohol consumption; cigarette smoking; interactions; odds ratio models
3.  Body Mass Index, Cigarette Smoking, and Alcohol Consumption and Cancers of the Oral Cavity, Pharynx, and Larynx: Modeling Odds Ratios in Pooled Case-Control Data 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;171(12):1250-1261.
Odds ratios for head and neck cancer increase with greater cigarette and alcohol use and lower body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height2 (m2)). Using data from the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology Consortium, the authors conducted a formal analysis of BMI as a modifier of smoking- and alcohol-related effects. Analysis of never and current smokers included 6,333 cases, while analysis of never drinkers and consumers of ≤10 drinks/day included 8,452 cases. There were 8,000 or more controls, depending on the analysis. Odds ratios for all sites increased with lower BMI, greater smoking, and greater drinking. In polytomous regression, odds ratios for BMI (P = 0.65), smoking (P = 0.52), and drinking (P = 0.73) were homogeneous for oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers. Odds ratios for BMI and drinking were greater for oral cavity/pharyngeal cancer (P < 0.01), while smoking odds ratios were greater for laryngeal cancer (P < 0.01). Lower BMI enhanced smoking- and drinking-related odds ratios for oral cavity/pharyngeal cancer (P < 0.01), while BMI did not modify smoking and drinking odds ratios for laryngeal cancer. The increased odds ratios for all sites with low BMI may suggest related carcinogenic mechanisms; however, BMI modification of smoking and drinking odds ratios for cancer of the oral cavity/pharynx but not larynx cancer suggests additional factors specific to oral cavity/pharynx cancer.
PMCID: PMC2915496  PMID: 20494999
alcohol drinking; body mass index; laryngeal neoplasms; models, statistical; mouth neoplasms; odds ratio; pharyngeal neoplasms; smoking
4.  Menstrual and reproductive factors and gastric cancer risk in a large prospective study of women 
Gut  2007;56(12):1671-1677.
Gastric cancer incidence rates are consistently lower in women than men in both high and low‐risk regions worldwide. Sex hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, may protect women against gastric cancer.
To investigate the association of menstrual and reproductive factors and gastric cancer risk.
These associations were prospectively investigated in 73 442 Shanghai women. After 419 260 person‐years of follow‐up, 154 women were diagnosed with gastric cancer. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, body mass index, education, income, and cigarette use.
No associations were observed between gastric cancer risk and age of menarche, number of children, breast feeding, or oral contraceptive use. In contrast, associations were observed with age of menopause (HR 0.80 per five‐year increase in menopausal age, 95% CI 0.66–0.97), years of fertility (participants with less than 30 years of fertility were at increased risk compared with those with 30–36 years of fertility, HR 1.90, 95% CI 1.25–2.90), years since menopause (HR 1.26 per five years, 95% CI 1.03–1.53), and intrauterine device use (HR for users 1.61, 95% CI 1.08–2.39).
These results support the hypothesis that female hormones play a protective role in gastric cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC2095686  PMID: 17627962
stomach neoplasms; cohort studies; prospective studies; hormones
5.  Total Exposure and Exposure Rate Effects for Alcohol and Smoking and Risk of Head and Neck Cancer: A Pooled Analysis of Case-Control Studies 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2009;170(8):937-947.
Although cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption increase risk for head and neck cancers, there have been few attempts to model risks quantitatively and to formally evaluate cancer site-specific risks. The authors pooled data from 15 case-control studies and modeled the excess odds ratio (EOR) to assess risk by total exposure (pack-years and drink-years) and its modification by exposure rate (cigarettes/day and drinks/day). The smoking analysis included 1,761 laryngeal, 2,453 pharyngeal, and 1,990 oral cavity cancers, and the alcohol analysis included 2,551 laryngeal, 3,693 pharyngeal, and 3,116 oval cavity cancers, with over 8,000 controls. Above 15 cigarettes/day, the EOR/pack-year decreased with increasing cigarettes/day, suggesting that greater cigarettes/day for a shorter duration was less deleterious than fewer cigarettes/day for a longer duration. Estimates of EOR/pack-year were homogeneous across sites, while the effects of cigarettes/day varied, indicating that the greater laryngeal cancer risk derived from differential cigarettes/day effects and not pack-years. EOR/drink-year estimates increased through 10 drinks/day, suggesting that greater drinks/day for a shorter duration was more deleterious than fewer drinks/day for a longer duration. Above 10 drinks/day, data were limited. EOR/drink-year estimates varied by site, while drinks/day effects were homogeneous, indicating that the greater pharyngeal/oral cavity cancer risk with alcohol consumption derived from the differential effects of drink-years and not drinks/day.
PMCID: PMC2800266  PMID: 19745021
alcohol drinking; risk model; smoking
6.  Smoking Behavior and Lung Cancer in a Biracial Cohort 
In the U.S., the incidence of lung cancer varies by race, with rates being highest among black men. There are marked differences in smoking behavior between blacks and whites, but little is known regarding how these differences contribute to the racial disparities in lung cancer.
To compare the lung cancer risk associated with smoking in 14,610 blacks and whites in the prospective cohort Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study.
Smoking characteristics were ascertained at baseline and three follow-up visits in 1990–1992, 1993–1995, and 1996–1998 (response rates were 93%, 86%, and 80%, respectively), as well as from annual telephone interviews. Data were analyzed in the fall of 2012. Multivariable-adjusted proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios and 95% CIs for lung cancer.
Over 20 years of follow-up (1987–2006), 470 incident cases of lung cancer occurred. Lung cancer incident rates were highest in black men and lowest in black women. However, there was no evidence to support racial differences in the associations of smoking status, intensity, or age at initiation with lung cancer risk (all pinteraction≥0.25). The hazard ratio for those who started smoking at age ≤12 versus >22 years was 3.03 (95% CI=1.62, 5.67). Prolonged smoking cessation (≥10 years) was associated with a decrease in lung cancer risk, with equivalent benefits in whites and blacks, 84% and 74%, respectively (pinteraction=0.25).
Smoking confers similar lung cancer risk in blacks and whites.
PMCID: PMC4030495  PMID: 24842739
7.  Potential for Adult-Based Epidemiological Studies to Characterize Overall Cancer Risks Associated with a Lifetime of CT Scans 
Radiation research  2014;181(6):584-591.
Recent epidemiological studies have suggested that radiation exposure from pediatric CT scanning is associated with small excess cancer risks. However, the majority of CT scans are performed on adults, and most radiation-induced cancers appear during middle or old age, in the same age range as background cancers. Consequently, a logical next step is to investigate the effects of CT scanning in adulthood on lifetime cancer risks by conducting adult-based, appropriately designed epidemiological studies. Here we estimate the sample size required for such studies to detect CT-associated risks. This was achieved by incorporating different age-, sex-, time- and cancer type-dependent models of radiation carcinogenesis into an in silico simulation of a population-based cohort study. This approach simulated individual histories of chest and abdominal CT exposures, deaths and cancer diagnoses. The resultant sample sizes suggest that epidemiological studies of realistically sized cohorts can detect excess lifetime cancer risks from adult CT exposures. For example, retrospective analysis of CT exposure and cancer incidence data from a population-based cohort of 0.4 to 1.3 million (depending on the carcinogenic model) CT-exposed UK adults, aged 25–65 in 1980 and followed until 2015, provides 80% power for detecting cancer risks from chest and abdominal CT scans.
PMCID: PMC4157352  PMID: 24828111
8.  IARC Monographs: 40 Years of Evaluating Carcinogenic Hazards to Humans 
Pearce, Neil | Blair, Aaron | Vineis, Paolo | Ahrens, Wolfgang | Andersen, Aage | Anto, Josep M. | Armstrong, Bruce K. | Baccarelli, Andrea A. | Beland, Frederick A. | Berrington, Amy | Bertazzi, Pier Alberto | Birnbaum, Linda S. | Brownson, Ross C. | Bucher, John R. | Cantor, Kenneth P. | Cardis, Elisabeth | Cherrie, John W. | Christiani, David C. | Cocco, Pierluigi | Coggon, David | Comba, Pietro | Demers, Paul A. | Dement, John M. | Douwes, Jeroen | Eisen, Ellen A. | Engel, Lawrence S. | Fenske, Richard A. | Fleming, Lora E. | Fletcher, Tony | Fontham, Elizabeth | Forastiere, Francesco | Frentzel-Beyme, Rainer | Fritschi, Lin | Gerin, Michel | Goldberg, Marcel | Grandjean, Philippe | Grimsrud, Tom K. | Gustavsson, Per | Haines, Andy | Hartge, Patricia | Hansen, Johnni | Hauptmann, Michael | Heederik, Dick | Hemminki, Kari | Hemon, Denis | Hertz-Picciotto, Irva | Hoppin, Jane A. | Huff, James | Jarvholm, Bengt | Kang, Daehee | Karagas, Margaret R. | Kjaerheim, Kristina | Kjuus, Helge | Kogevinas, Manolis | Kriebel, David | Kristensen, Petter | Kromhout, Hans | Laden, Francine | Lebailly, Pierre | LeMasters, Grace | Lubin, Jay H. | Lynch, Charles F. | Lynge, Elsebeth | ‘t Mannetje, Andrea | McMichael, Anthony J. | McLaughlin, John R. | Marrett, Loraine | Martuzzi, Marco | Merchant, James A. | Merler, Enzo | Merletti, Franco | Miller, Anthony | Mirer, Franklin E. | Monson, Richard | Nordby, Karl-Cristian | Olshan, Andrew F. | Parent, Marie-Elise | Perera, Frederica P. | Perry, Melissa J. | Pesatori, Angela Cecilia | Pirastu, Roberta | Porta, Miquel | Pukkala, Eero | Rice, Carol | Richardson, David B. | Ritter, Leonard | Ritz, Beate | Ronckers, Cecile M. | Rushton, Lesley | Rusiecki, Jennifer A. | Rusyn, Ivan | Samet, Jonathan M. | Sandler, Dale P. | de Sanjose, Silvia | Schernhammer, Eva | Costantini, Adele Seniori | Seixas, Noah | Shy, Carl | Siemiatycki, Jack | Silverman, Debra T. | Simonato, Lorenzo | Smith, Allan H. | Smith, Martyn T. | Spinelli, John J. | Spitz, Margaret R. | Stallones, Lorann | Stayner, Leslie T. | Steenland, Kyle | Stenzel, Mark | Stewart, Bernard W. | Stewart, Patricia A. | Symanski, Elaine | Terracini, Benedetto | Tolbert, Paige E. | Vainio, Harri | Vena, John | Vermeulen, Roel | Victora, Cesar G. | Ward, Elizabeth M. | Weinberg, Clarice R. | Weisenburger, Dennis | Wesseling, Catharina | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Zahm, Shelia Hoar
Environmental Health Perspectives  2015;123(6):507-514.
Background: Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Programme for the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans has been criticized for several of its evaluations, and also for the approach used to perform these evaluations. Some critics have claimed that failures of IARC Working Groups to recognize study weaknesses and biases of Working Group members have led to inappropriate classification of a number of agents as carcinogenic to humans.
Objectives: The authors of this Commentary are scientists from various disciplines relevant to the identification and hazard evaluation of human carcinogens. We examined criticisms of the IARC classification process to determine the validity of these concerns. Here, we present the results of that examination, review the history of IARC evaluations, and describe how the IARC evaluations are performed.
Discussion: We concluded that these recent criticisms are unconvincing. The procedures employed by IARC to assemble Working Groups of scientists from the various disciplines and the techniques followed to review the literature and perform hazard assessment of various agents provide a balanced evaluation and an appropriate indication of the weight of the evidence. Some disagreement by individual scientists to some evaluations is not evidence of process failure. The review process has been modified over time and will undoubtedly be altered in the future to improve the process. Any process can in theory be improved, and we would support continued review and improvement of the IARC processes. This does not mean, however, that the current procedures are flawed.
Conclusions: The IARC Monographs have made, and continue to make, major contributions to the scientific underpinning for societal actions to improve the public’s health.
Citation: Pearce N, Blair A, Vineis P, Ahrens W, Andersen A, Anto JM, Armstrong BK, Baccarelli AA, Beland FA, Berrington A, Bertazzi PA, Birnbaum LS, Brownson RC, Bucher JR, Cantor KP, Cardis E, Cherrie JW, Christiani DC, Cocco P, Coggon D, Comba P, Demers PA, Dement JM, Douwes J, Eisen EA, Engel LS, Fenske RA, Fleming LE, Fletcher T, Fontham E, Forastiere F, Frentzel-Beyme R, Fritschi L, Gerin M, Goldberg M, Grandjean P, Grimsrud TK, Gustavsson P, Haines A, Hartge P, Hansen J, Hauptmann M, Heederik D, Hemminki K, Hemon D, Hertz-Picciotto I, Hoppin JA, Huff J, Jarvholm B, Kang D, Karagas MR, Kjaerheim K, Kjuus H, Kogevinas M, Kriebel D, Kristensen P, Kromhout H, Laden F, Lebailly P, LeMasters G, Lubin JH, Lynch CF, Lynge E, ‘t Mannetje A, McMichael AJ, McLaughlin JR, Marrett L, Martuzzi M, Merchant JA, Merler E, Merletti F, Miller A, Mirer FE, Monson R, Nordby KC, Olshan AF, Parent ME, Perera FP, Perry MJ, Pesatori AC, Pirastu R, Porta M, Pukkala E, Rice C, Richardson DB, Ritter L, Ritz B, Ronckers CM, Rushton L, Rusiecki JA, Rusyn I, Samet JM, Sandler DP, de Sanjose S, Schernhammer E, Seniori Costantini A, Seixas N, Shy C, Siemiatycki J, Silverman DT, Simonato L, Smith AH, Smith MT, Spinelli JJ, Spitz MR, Stallones L, Stayner LT, Steenland K, Stenzel M, Stewart BW, Stewart PA, Symanski E, Terracini B, Tolbert PE, Vainio H, Vena J, Vermeulen R, Victora CG, Ward EM, Weinberg CR, Weisenburger D, Wesseling C, Weiderpass E, Zahm SH. 2015. IARC Monographs: 40 years of evaluating carcinogenic hazards to humans. Environ Health Perspect 123:507–514;
PMCID: PMC4455595  PMID: 25712798
9.  Anthropometric and Hormonal Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer: Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project Results 
The etiology of male breast cancer is poorly understood, partly because of its relative rarity. Although genetic factors are involved, less is known regarding the role of anthropometric and hormonally related risk factors.
In the Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project, a consortium of 11 case–control and 10 cohort investigations involving 2405 case patients (n = 1190 from case–control and n = 1215 from cohort studies) and 52013 control subjects, individual participant data were harmonized and pooled. Unconditional logistic regression generated study design–specific (case–control/cohort) odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), with exposure estimates combined using fixed effects meta-analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Risk was statistically significantly associated with weight (highest/lowest tertile: OR = 1.36; 95% CI = 1.18 to 1.57), height (OR = 1.18; 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.38), and body mass index (BMI; OR = 1.30; 95% CI = 1.12 to 1.51), with evidence that recent rather than distant BMI was the strongest predictor. Klinefelter syndrome (OR = 24.7; 95% CI = 8.94 to 68.4) and gynecomastia (OR = 9.78; 95% CI = 7.52 to 12.7) were also statistically significantly associated with risk, relations that were independent of BMI. Diabetes also emerged as an independent risk factor (OR = 1.19; 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.37). There were also suggestive relations with cryptorchidism (OR = 2.18; 95% CI = 0.96 to 4.94) and orchitis (OR = 1.43; 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.99). Although age at onset of puberty and histories of infertility were unrelated to risk, never having had children was statistically significantly related (OR = 1.29; 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.66). Among individuals diagnosed at older ages, a history of fractures was statistically significantly related (OR = 1.41; 95% CI = 1.07 to 1.86).
Consistent findings across case–control and cohort investigations, complemented by pooled analyses, indicated important roles for anthropometric and hormonal risk factors in the etiology of male breast cancer. Further investigation should focus on potential roles of endogenous hormones.
PMCID: PMC3975166  PMID: 24552677
10.  Maté drinking and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in South America: pooled results from two large multi-center case-control studies 
Maté tea is non-alcoholic infusion widely consumed in southern South America, and may increase risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and other cancers due to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and/or thermal injury.
We pooled two case-control studies: a 1988–2005 Uruguay study and a 1986–1992 multinational study in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, including 1,400 cases and 3,229 controls. We computed odds ratios (OR) and fitted a linear excess odds ratio (EOR) model for cumulative maté consumption in liters/day-year (LPDY).
The adjusted OR for ESCC with 95% confidence interval (CI) by ever compared with never use of maté was 1.60 (1.2,2.2). ORs increased linearly with LPDY (test of non-linearity, P=0.69). The estimate of slope (EOR/LPDY) was 0.009 (0.005,0.014) and did not vary with daily intake, indicating maté intensity did not influence the strength of association. EOR/LPDY estimates for consumption at warm, hot and very hot beverage temperatures were 0.004 (−0.002,0.013), 0.007 (0.003,0.013) and 0.016 (0.009,0.027), respectively, and differed significantly (P<0.01). EOR/LPDY estimates were increased in younger (<65) individuals and never alcohol drinkers, but these evaluations were post hoc, and were homogeneous by sex.
ORs for ESCC increased linearly with cumulative maté consumption and were unrelated to intensity, so greater daily consumption for shorter duration or lesser daily consumption for longer duration resulted in comparable ORs. The strength of association increased with higher mate temperatures.
Increased understanding of cancer risks with maté consumption enhances the understanding of the public health consequences given its purported health benefits.
PMCID: PMC3947123  PMID: 24130226
13.  Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Risk and Insecticide, Fungicide and Fumigant Use in the Agricultural Health Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109332.
Farming and pesticide use have previously been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and multiple myeloma (MM). We evaluated agricultural use of specific insecticides, fungicides, and fumigants and risk of NHL and NHL-subtypes (including CLL and MM) in a U.S.-based prospective cohort of farmers and commercial pesticide applicators. A total of 523 cases occurred among 54,306 pesticide applicators from enrollment (1993–97) through December 31, 2011 in Iowa, and December 31, 2010 in North Carolina. Information on pesticide use, other agricultural exposures and other factors was obtained from questionnaires at enrollment and at follow-up approximately five years later (1999–2005). Information from questionnaires, monitoring, and the literature were used to create lifetime-days and intensity-weighted lifetime days of pesticide use, taking into account exposure-modifying factors. Poisson and polytomous models were used to calculate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to evaluate associations between 26 pesticides and NHL and five NHL-subtypes, while adjusting for potential confounding factors. For total NHL, statistically significant positive exposure-response trends were seen with lindane and DDT. Terbufos was associated with total NHL in ever/never comparisons only. In subtype analyses, terbufos and DDT were associated with small cell lymphoma/chronic lymphocytic leukemia/marginal cell lymphoma, lindane and diazinon with follicular lymphoma, and permethrin with MM. However, tests of homogeneity did not show significant differences in exposure-response among NHL-subtypes for any pesticide. Because 26 pesticides were evaluated for their association with NHL and its subtypes, some chance finding could have occurred. Our results showed pesticides from different chemical and functional classes were associated with an excess risk of NHL and NHL subtypes, but not all members of any single class of pesticides were associated with an elevated risk of NHL or NHL subtypes. These findings are among the first to suggest links between DDT, lindane, permethrin, diazinon and terbufos with NHL subtypes.
PMCID: PMC4206281  PMID: 25337994
14.  Pesticide exposure and inherited variants in vitamin D pathway genes in relation to prostate cancer 
Vitamin D and its metabolites are believed to impede carcinogenesis by stimulating cell differentiation, inhibiting cell proliferation, and inducing apoptosis. Certain pesticides have been shown to deregulate vitamin D’s anti-carcinogenic properties. We hypothesize that certain pesticides may be linked to prostate cancer via an interaction with vitamin D genetic variants.
We evaluated interactions between 41 pesticides and 152 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in nine vitamin D pathway genes among 776 prostate cancer cases and 1,444 male controls in a nested case-control study of Caucasian pesticide applicators within the Agricultural Health Study. We assessed interaction P-values using likelihood ratio tests from unconditional logistic regression and a False Discovery Rate (FDR) to account for multiple comparisons.
Five significant interactions (P<0.01) displayed a monotonic increase in prostate cancer risk with individual pesticide use in one genotype and no association in the other. These interactions involved parathion and terbufos use and three vitamin D genes (VDR, RXRB and GC). The exposure-response pattern among participants with increasing parathion use with the homozygous CC genotype for GC rs7041 compared to unexposed participants was noteworthy (low versus no exposure: odds ratio (OR)=2.58, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.07–6.25; high versus no exposure: OR=3.09, 95%CI=1.10–8.68; P-interaction=3.8×10−3).
In this study, genetic variations in vitamin D pathway genes, particularly GC rs7041, a SNP previously linked to lower circulating vitamin D levels modified pesticide associations with prostate cancer risk.
Because our study is the first to examine this relationship, additional studies are needed to rule out chance findings.
PMCID: PMC3773544  PMID: 23833127
pesticide; vitamin D; prostate cancer; VDR; RXR
15.  Are Women Who Smoke at Higher Risk for Lung Cancer Than Men Who Smoke? 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2013;177(7):601-612.
Worldwide lung cancer incidence is decreasing or leveling off among men, but rising among women. Sex differences in associations of tobacco carcinogens with lung cancer risk have been hypothesized, but the epidemiologic evidence is conflicting. We tested sex-smoking interaction in association with lung cancer risk within a population-based case-control study, the Environment and Genetics in Lung Cancer Etiology (EAGLE) Study (Lombardy, Italy, 2002–2005). Detailed lifetime smoking histories were collected by personal interview in 2,100 cases with incident lung cancer and 2,120 controls. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for pack-years of cigarette smoking were estimated by logistic regression, adjusted for age, residence area, and time since quitting smoking. To assess sex-smoking interaction, we compared the slopes of odds ratios for logarithm of pack-years in a model for men and women combined. Overall, the slope for pack-years was steeper in men (odds ratio for female-smoking interaction = 0.39, 95% confidence interval: 0.24, 0.62; P < 0.0001); after restriction to ever smokers, the difference in slopes was much smaller (odds ratio for interaction = 0.63, 95% confidence interval: 0.29, 1.37; P = 0.24). Similar results were found by histological type. Results were unchanged when additional confounders were evaluated (e.g., tobacco type, inhalation depth, Fagerström-assessed nicotine dependence). These findings do not support a higher female susceptibility to tobacco-related lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3657535  PMID: 23425629
case-control studies; lung cancer; sex differences; smoking
16.  Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other analgesic use and bladder cancer in northern New England 
A few epidemiologic studies have found that use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is associated with reduced risk of bladder cancer. However, the effects of specific NSAID use and individual variability in risk have not been well studied. We examined the association between NSAIDs use and bladder cancer risk, and its modification by 39 candidate genes related to NSAID metabolism. A population-based case–control study was conducted in northern New England, enrolling 1,171 newly diagnosed cases and 1,418 controls. Regular use of nonaspirin, nonselective NSAIDs was associated with reduced bladder cancer risk, with a statistically significant inverse trend in risk with duration of use (ORs of 1.0, 0.8, 0.6 and 0.6 for <5, 5–9, 10–19 and 201 years, respectively; ptrend = 0.015). This association was driven mainly by ibuprofen; significant inverse trends in risk with increasing duration and dose of ibuprofen were observed (ptrend = 0.009 and 0.054, respectively). The reduced risk from ibuprofen use was limited to individuals carrying the T allele of a single nucleotide polymorphism (rs4646450) compared to those who did not use ibuprofen and did not carry the T allele in the CYP3A locus, providing new evidence that this association might be modified by polymorphisms in genes that metabolize ibuprofen. Significant positive trends in risk with increasing duration and cumulative dose of selective cyclooxygenase (COX-2) inhibitors were observed. Our results are consistent with those from previous studies linking use of NSAIDs, particularly ibuprofen, with reduced risk. We observed a previously unrecognized risk associated with use of COX-2 inhibitors, which merits further evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3951299  PMID: 22505343
bladder cancer; nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; gene–drug interaction; CYP3A
18.  Impact of Uncertainties in Exposure Assessment on Estimates of Thyroid Cancer Risk among Ukrainian Children and Adolescents Exposed from the Chernobyl Accident 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85723.
The 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant remains the most serious nuclear accident in history, and excess thyroid cancers, particularly among those exposed to releases of iodine-131 remain the best-documented sequelae. Failure to take dose-measurement error into account can lead to bias in assessments of dose-response slope. Although risks in the Ukrainian-US thyroid screening study have been previously evaluated, errors in dose assessments have not been addressed hitherto. Dose-response patterns were examined in a thyroid screening prevalence cohort of 13,127 persons aged <18 at the time of the accident who were resident in the most radioactively contaminated regions of Ukraine. We extended earlier analyses in this cohort by adjusting for dose error in the recently developed TD-10 dosimetry. Three methods of statistical correction, via two types of regression calibration, and Monte Carlo maximum-likelihood, were applied to the doses that can be derived from the ratio of thyroid activity to thyroid mass. The two components that make up this ratio have different types of error, Berkson error for thyroid mass and classical error for thyroid activity. The first regression-calibration method yielded estimates of excess odds ratio of 5.78 Gy−1 (95% CI 1.92, 27.04), about 7% higher than estimates unadjusted for dose error. The second regression-calibration method gave an excess odds ratio of 4.78 Gy−1 (95% CI 1.64, 19.69), about 11% lower than unadjusted analysis. The Monte Carlo maximum-likelihood method produced an excess odds ratio of 4.93 Gy−1 (95% CI 1.67, 19.90), about 8% lower than unadjusted analysis. There are borderline-significant (p = 0.101–0.112) indications of downward curvature in the dose response, allowing for which nearly doubled the low-dose linear coefficient. In conclusion, dose-error adjustment has comparatively modest effects on regression parameters, a consequence of the relatively small errors, of a mixture of Berkson and classical form, associated with thyroid dose assessment.
PMCID: PMC3906013  PMID: 24489667
19.  Risk of Total and Aggressive Prostate Cancer and Pesticide Use in the Agricultural Health Study 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2012;177(1):59-74.
Because pesticides may operate through different mechanisms, the authors studied the risk of prostate cancer associated with specific pesticides in the Agricultural Health Study (1993–2007). With 1,962 incident cases, including 919 aggressive prostate cancers among 54,412 applicators, this is the largest study to date. Rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by using Poisson regression to evaluate lifetime use of 48 pesticides and prostate cancer incidence. Three organophosphate insecticides were significantly associated with aggressive prostate cancer: fonofos (rate ratio (RR) for the highest quartile of exposure (Q4) vs. nonexposed = 1.63, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22, 2.17; Ptrend < 0.001); malathion (RR for Q4 vs. nonexposed = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.88; Ptrend = 0.04); and terbufos (RR for Q4 vs. nonexposed = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.64; Ptrend = 0.03). The organochlorine insecticide aldrin was also associated with increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer (RR for Q4 vs. nonexposed = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.03, 2.18; Ptrend = 0.02). This analysis has overcome several limitations of previous studies with the inclusion of a large number of cases with relevant exposure and detailed information on use of specific pesticides at 2 points in time. Furthermore, this is the first time specific pesticides are implicated as risk factors for aggressive prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3590039  PMID: 23171882
aggressive prostate cancer; cohort study; farming; organophosphate insecticides; pesticide exposure; prostate cancer
20.  A Pooled Analysis of Thyroid Cancer Incidence Following Radiotherapy for Childhood Cancer 
Radiation research  2012;178(4):365-376.
Childhood cancer five-year survival now exceeds 70–80%. Childhood exposure to radiation is a known thyroid carcinogen; however, data are limited for the evaluation of radiation dose-response at high doses, modifiers of the dose-response relationship and joint effects of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. To address these issues, we pooled two cohort and two nested case-control studies of childhood cancer survivors including 16,757 patients, with 187 developing primary thyroid cancer. Relative risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for thyroid cancer by treatment with alkylating agents, anthracyclines or bleomycin were 3.25 (0.9–14.9), 4.5 (1.4–17.8) and 3.2 (0.8–10.4), respectively, in patients without radiotherapy, and declined with greater radiation dose (RR trends, P = 0.02, 0.12 and 0.01, respectively). Radiation dose-related RRs increased approximately linearly for <10 Gy, leveled off at 10–15-fold for 10–30 Gy and then declined, but remained elevated for doses >50 Gy. The fitted RR at 10 Gy was 13.7 (95% CI: 8.0–24.0). Dose-related excess RRs increased with decreasing age at exposure (P < 0.01), but did not vary with attained age or time-since-exposure, remaining elevated 25+ years after exposure. Gender and number of treatments did not modify radiation effects. Thyroid cancer risks remained elevated many decades following radiotherapy, highlighting the need for continued follow up of childhood cancer survivors.
PMCID: PMC3488851  PMID: 22857014
21.  Impact of occupational carcinogens on lung cancer risk in a general population 
Background Exposure to occupational carcinogens is an important preventable cause of lung cancer. Most of the previous studies were in highly exposed industrial cohorts. Our aim was to quantify lung cancer burden attributable to occupational carcinogens in a general population.
Methods We applied a new job–exposure matrix (JEM) to translate lifetime work histories, collected by personal interview and coded into standard job titles, into never, low and high exposure levels for six known/suspected occupational lung carcinogens in the Environment and Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) population-based case–control study, conducted in Lombardy region, Italy, in 2002–05. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated in men (1537 cases and 1617 controls), by logistic regression adjusted for potential confounders, including smoking and co-exposure to JEM carcinogens. The population attributable fraction (PAF) was estimated as impact measure.
Results Men showed an increased lung cancer risk even at low exposure to asbestos (OR: 1.76; 95% CI: 1.42–2.18), crystalline silica (OR: 1.31; 95% CI: 1.00–1.71) and nickel–chromium (OR: 1.18; 95% CI: 0.90–1.53); risk increased with exposure level. For polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, an increased risk (OR: 1.64; 95% CI: 0.99–2.70) was found only for high exposures. The PAFs for any exposure to asbestos, silica and nickel–chromium were 18.1, 5.7 and 7.0%, respectively, equivalent to an overall PAF of 22.5% (95% CI: 14.1–30.0). This corresponds to about 1016 (95% CI: 637–1355) male lung cancer cases/year in Lombardy.
Conclusions These findings support the substantial role of selected occupational carcinogens on lung cancer burden, even at low exposures, in a general population.
PMCID: PMC3396321  PMID: 22467291
lung neoplasms; case–control study; carcinogens; occupational health
22.  Methyl bromide exposure and cancer risk in the Agricultural Health Study 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2012;23(6):807-818.
Methyl bromide is a genotoxic soil fumigant with high acute toxicity, but unknown human carcinogenicity. Although many countries have reduced methyl bromide use because of its ozone depleting properties, some uses remain in the United States and other countries, warranting further investigation of human health effects.
We used Poisson regression to calculate rate ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for associations between methyl bromide use and all cancers combined and 12 specific sites among 53,588 Agricultural Health Study (AHS) pesticide applicators with follow-up from 1993–2007. We also evaluated interactions with a family history for four common cancers (prostate, lung, colon, and lymphohematopoietic). We categorized methyl bromide exposure based on lifetime days applied weighted by an intensity score.
A total of 7,814 applicators (14.6%) used methyl bromide, predominantly before enrollment. Based on 15 exposed cases, stomach cancer risk increased monotonically with increasing methyl bromide use (RR=1.42; 95% CI: 0.51–3.95 and RR=3.13; 95% CI: 1.25–7.80 for low and high use compared with no use; ptrend=0.02). No other sites displayed a significant monotonic pattern. Although we previously observed an association with prostate cancer (follow-up through 1999), the association did not persist with longer follow-up. We observed a non-significant elevated risk of prostate cancer with methyl bromide use among those with a family history of prostate cancer, but the interaction with a family history did not achieve statistical significance.
Our results provide little evidence of methyl bromide associations with cancer risk for most sites examined; however, we observed a significant exposure-dependent increase in stomach cancer risk. Small numbers of exposed cases and declining methyl bromide use might have influenced our findings. Further study is needed in more recently exposed populations to expand on these results.
PMCID: PMC3430844  PMID: 22527160
methyl bromide; fumigant; pesticide; cancer
23.  Lifetime Organophosphorous Insecticide Use among Private Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study 
Organophosphorous insecticides (OPs) are the most commonly used insecticides in US agriculture, but little information is available regarding specific OP use by individual farmers. We describe OP use for licensed private pesticide applicators from Iowa and North Carolina in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) using lifetime pesticide use data from 701 randomly selected male participants collected at three time periods. Of 27 OPs studied, 20 were used by >1%. Overall, 95% had ever applied at least one OP. The median number of different OPs used was 4 (maximum=13). Malathion was the most commonly used OP (74%) followed by chlorpyrifos (54%). OP use declined over time. At the first interview (1993–1997), 68% of participants had applied OPs in the past year; by the last interview (2005–2007), only 42% had. Similarly, median annual application days of OPs declined from 13.5 to 6 days. While OP use was common, the specific OPs used varied by state, time period, and individual. Much of the variability in OP use was associated with the choice of OP, rather than the frequency or duration of application. Information on farmers’ OP use enhances our ability to characterize and understand the potential health effects of multiple OP exposures.
PMCID: PMC3478402  PMID: 22854518
pesticide use; farming; organophosphorous insecticide
24.  Impact of Pesticide Exposure Misclassification on Estimates of Relative Risks in the Agricultural Health Study 
The Agricultural Health Study (AHS) is a prospective study of licensed pesticide applicators (largely farmers) and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina. We evaluate the impact of occupational pesticide exposure misclassification on relative risks using data from the cohort and the AHS Pesticide Exposure Study (AHS/PES).
We assessed the impact of exposure misclassification on relative risks using the range of correlation coefficients observed between measured post-application urinary levels of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and chlorpyrifos metabolite and exposure estimates based on an algorithm from 83 AHS pesticide applications.
The correlations between urinary levels of 2,4-D and chlorpyrifos metabolite and estimated exposure intensity scores from the expert-derived algorithm were about 0.4 for 2,4-D (n=64), 0.8 for liquid chlorpyrifos (n=4), and 0.6 for granular chlorpyrifos (n=12). Correlations of urinary levels with individual exposure determinants (e.g., kilograms of active ingredient used, duration of application, or number of acres treated) were lower and ranged from −0.36 to 0.19. These findings indicate that scores from an a priori expert-derived algorithm developed for the AHS were more closely related to measured urinary levels than the several individual exposure determinants evaluated here. Estimates of potential bias in relative risks observed in the AHS based on the correlations from the AHS/PES and the proportion of the AHS cohort exposed to various pesticides indicate that nondifferential misclassification of exposure using the algorithm would bias some estimates toward the null, but less than the misclassification associated with individual exposure determinants.
Based on these correlations and the proportion of the AHS cohort exposed to various pesticides, the potential bias in relative risks from nondifferential exposure misclassification is reduced when exposure estimates are based on an expert algorithm compared to estimates based on separate individual exposure determinants often used in epidemiologic studies. Although correlations between algorithm scores and urinary levels were quite good (i.e., correlations between 0.4 and 0.8), exposure misclassification would still bias relative risk estimates in the AHS towards the null and diminish study power.
PMCID: PMC3566632  PMID: 21257983
25.  Genetic variation in nucleotide excision repair pathway genes, pesticide exposure and prostate cancer risk 
Carcinogenesis  2011;33(2):331-337.
Previous research demonstrates increased prostate cancer risk for pesticide applicators and pesticide manufacturing workers. Although underlying mechanisms are unknown, human biomonitoring studies indicate increased genetic damage (e.g. chromosomal aberrations) with pesticide exposure. Given that the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway repairs a broad range of DNA damage, we evaluated interactions between pesticide exposure and 324 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging 27 NER genes among 776 prostate cancer cases and 1444 male controls in a nested case–control study of white Agricultural Health Study pesticide applicators. We determined interaction P values using likelihood ratio tests from logistic regression models and three-level pesticide variables (none/low/high) based on lifetime days of use weighted to an intensity score. We adjusted for multiple comparisons using the false discovery rate (FDR) method. Of the 17 interactions that met FDR <0.2, 3 displayed a monotonic increase in prostate cancer risk with increasing exposure in one genotype group and no significant association in the other group. Men carrying the variant A allele at ERCC1 rs2298881 exhibited increased prostate cancer risk with high versus no fonofos use [odds ratio (OR) 2.98; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.65–5.39; Pinteract = 3.6 × 10−4; FDR-adjusted P = 0.11]. Men carrying the homozygous wild-type TT genotype at two correlated CDK7 SNPs, rs11744596 and rs2932778 (r2 = 1.0), exhibited increased risk with high versus no carbofuran use (OR 2.01; 95% CI 1.31–3.10 for rs11744596; Pinteract = 7.2 × 10−4; FDR-adjusted P = 0.09). In contrast, we did not observe associations among men with other genotypes at these loci. While requiring replication, our findings suggest a role for NER genetic variation in pesticide-associated prostate cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3271261  PMID: 22102698

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