Occupational exposure to chlorinated aliphatic solvents has been associated with an increased cancer risk, including brain cancer. However, many of these solvents remain in active, large-volume use. We evaluated glioma risk from non-farm occupational exposure (ever/never and estimated cumulative exposure) to any of the six chlorinated solvents—carbon tetrachloride, chloroform, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene or 1,1,1-trichloroethane—among 798 cases and 1175 population-based controls, aged 18–80 years and non-metropolitan residents of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Solvent use was estimated based on occupation, industry and era, using a bibliographic database of published exposure levels and exposure determinants. Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate ORs adjusted for frequency matching variables age group and sex, and age and education. Additional analyses were limited to 904 participants who donated blood specimens (excluding controls reporting a previous diagnosis of cancer) genotyped for glutathione-S-transferases GSTP1, GSTM3 and GSTT1. Individuals with functional GST genes might convert chlorinated solvents crossing the blood–brain barrier into cytotoxic metabolites.
Both estimated cumulative exposure (ppm-years) and ever exposure to chlorinated solvents were associated with decreased glioma risk and were statistically significant overall and for women. In analyses comparing participants with a high probability of exposure with the unexposed, no associations were statistically significant. Solvent-exposed participants with functional GST genes were not at increased risk of glioma.
We observed no associations of glioma risk and chlorinated solvent exposure. Large pooled studies are needed to explore the interaction of genetic pathways and environmental and occupational exposures in glioma aetiology.
Understanding glioma etiology requires determining which environmental factors are associated with glioma. Upper Midwest Health Study case–control participant work histories collected 1995–1998 were evaluated for occupational associations with glioma. “Exposures of interest” from our study protocol comprise our a priori hypotheses.
Materials and Methods
Year-long or longer jobs for 1,973 participants were assigned Standard Occupational Classifications (SOC) and Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC). The analysis file includes 8,078 SIC- and SOC-coded jobs. For each individual, SAS 9.2 programs collated employment with identical SIC-SOC coding. Distributions of longest “total employment duration” (total years worked in jobs with identical industry and occupation codes, including multiple jobs, and non-consecutive jobs) were compared between cases and controls, using an industrial hygiene algorithm to group occupations.
Longest employment duration was calculated for 780 cases and 1,156 controls. More case than control longest total employment duration was in the “engineer, architect” occupational group [16 cases, 10 controls, odds ratio (OR) 2.50, adjusted for age group, sex, age and education, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12–5.60]. Employment as a food processing worker [mostly butchers and meat cutters] was of borderline significance (27 cases, 21 controls, adjusted OR: 1.78, CI: 0.99–3.18).
Among our exposures of interest work as engineers or as butchers and meat cutters was associated with increased glioma risk. Significant associations could be due to chance, because of multiple comparisons, but similar findings have been reported for other glioma studies. Our results suggest some possible associations but by themselves could not provide conclusive evidence.
glioma; case–control studies; occupation; industry; occupational exposure
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have mapped risk alleles for at least 10 distinct cancers to a small region of 63 000 bp on chromosome 5p15.33. This region harbors the TERT and CLPTM1L genes; the former encodes the catalytic subunit of telomerase reverse transcriptase and the latter may play a role in apoptosis. To investigate further the genetic architecture of common susceptibility alleles in this region, we conducted an agnostic subset-based meta-analysis (association analysis based on subsets) across six distinct cancers in 34 248 cases and 45 036 controls. Based on sequential conditional analysis, we identified as many as six independent risk loci marked by common single-nucleotide polymorphisms: five in the TERT gene (Region 1: rs7726159, P = 2.10 × 10−39; Region 3: rs2853677, P = 3.30 × 10−36 and PConditional = 2.36 × 10−8; Region 4: rs2736098, P = 3.87 × 10−12 and PConditional = 5.19 × 10−6, Region 5: rs13172201, P = 0.041 and PConditional = 2.04 × 10−6; and Region 6: rs10069690, P = 7.49 × 10−15 and PConditional = 5.35 × 10−7) and one in the neighboring CLPTM1L gene (Region 2: rs451360; P = 1.90 × 10−18 and PConditional = 7.06 × 10−16). Between three and five cancers mapped to each independent locus with both risk-enhancing and protective effects. Allele-specific effects on DNA methylation were seen for a subset of risk loci, indicating that methylation and subsequent effects on gene expression may contribute to the biology of risk variants on 5p15.33. Our results provide strong support for extensive pleiotropy across this region of 5p15.33, to an extent not previously observed in other cancer susceptibility loci.
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a risk factor for many human diseases, but among exposed individuals, not everyone is equally likely to develop HCMV-spurred diseases, implying the presence of host genetic factors that might modulate immunity to this virus. Here, we show that antibody responsiveness to HCMV glycoprotein B (gB) is significantly associated with particular immunoglobulin GM (γ marker) genotypes. Anti-HCMV gB antibody levels were highest in GM 17/17 homozygotes, intermediate in GM 3/17 heterozygotes, and lowest in GM 3/3 homozygotes (28.2, 19.0, and 8.1 µg/mL, respectively; P = .014). These findings provide mechanistic insights in the etiopathogenesis of HCMV-spurred diseases.
GM allotypes; humoral immunity; human cytomegalovirus; glycoprotein B; candidate genes
The objective of this analysis was to evaluate mortality among a cohort of 24,865 capacitor-manufacturing workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at plants in Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York and followed for mortality through 2008. Cumulative PCB exposure was estimated using plant-specific job-exposure matrices. External comparisons to US and state-specific populations used standardized mortality ratios, adjusted for gender, race, age and calendar year. Among long-term workers employed 3 months or longer, within-cohort comparisons used standardized rate ratios and multivariable Poisson regression modeling. Through 2008, more than one million person-years at risk and 8749 deaths were accrued. Among long-term employees, all-cause and all-cancer mortality were not elevated; of the a priori outcomes assessed only melanoma mortality was elevated. Mortality was elevated for some outcomes of a priori interest among subgroups of long-term workers: all cancer, intestinal cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (women); melanoma (men); melanoma and brain and nervous system cancer (Indiana plant); and melanoma and multiple myeloma (New York plant). Standardized rates of stomach and uterine cancer and multiple myeloma mortality increased with estimated cumulative PCB exposure. Poisson regression modeling showed significant associations with estimated cumulative PCB exposure for prostate and stomach cancer mortality. For other outcomes of a priori interest – rectal, liver, ovarian, breast, and thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson disease – neither elevated mortality nor positive associations with PCB exposure were observed. Associations between estimated cumulative PCB exposure and stomach, uterine, and prostate cancer and myeloma mortality confirmed our previous positive findings.
Polychlorinated biphenyls; Cohort study; Occupational exposure; Cancer; Exposure assessment
Although polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been banned in many countries for more than three decades, exposures to PCBs continue to be of concern due to their long half-lives and carcinogenic effects. In National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health studies, we are using semiquantitative plant-specific job exposure matrices (JEMs) to estimate historical PCB exposures for workers (n=24,865) exposed to PCBs from 1938 to 1978 at three capacitor manufacturing plants. A subcohort of these workers (n=410) employed in two of these plants had serum PCB concentrations measured at up to four times between 1976 and 1989. Our objectives were to evaluate the strength of association between an individual worker’s measured serum PCB levels and the same worker’s cumulative exposure estimated through 1977 with the (1) JEM and (2) duration of employment, and to calculate the explained variance the JEM provides for serum PCB levels using (3) simple linear regression. Consistent strong and statistically significant associations were observed between the cumulative exposures estimated with the JEM and serum PCB concentrations for all years. The strength of association between duration of employment and serum PCBs was good for highly chlorinated (Aroclor 1254/HPCB) but not less chlorinated (Aroclor 1242/LPCB) PCBs. In the simple regression models, cumulative occupational exposure estimated using the JEMs explained 14–24 % of the variance of the Aroclor 1242/LPCB and 22–39 % for Aroclor 1254/HPCB serum concentrations. We regard the cumulative exposure estimated with the JEM as a better estimate of PCB body burdens than serum concentrations quantified as Aroclor 1242/LPCB and Aroclor 1254/HPCB.
Polychlorinated biphenyls; PCB; Serum PCB; Aroclor; Occupational exposure
We developed a semiquantitative job exposure matrix (JEM) for workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a capacitor manufacturing plant from 1946 to 1977. In a recently updated mortality study, mortality of prostate and stomach cancer increased with increasing levels of cumulative exposure estimated with this JEM (trend p values=0.003 and 0.04, respectively). Capacitor manufacturing began with winding bales of foil and paper film, which were placed in a metal capacitor box (pre-assembly), and placed in a vacuum chamber for flood-filling (impregnation) with dielectric fluid (PCBs). Capacitors dripping with PCB residues were then transported to sealing stations where ports were soldered shut before degreasing, leak testing, and painting. Using a systematic approach, all 509 unique jobs identified in the work histories were rated by predetermined process- and plant-specific exposure determinants; then categorized based on the jobs’ similarities (combination of exposure determinants) into 35 job exposure categories. The job exposure categories were ranked followed by a qualitative PCB exposure rating (baseline, low, medium, and high) for inhalation and dermal intensity. Category differences in other chemical exposures (solvents, etc.) prevented further combining of categories. The mean of all available PCB concentrations (1975 and 1977) for jobs within each intensity rating was regarded as a representative value for that intensity level. Inhalation (in microgram per cubic milligram) and dermal (unitless) exposures were regarded as equally important. Intensity was frequency adjusted for jobs with continuous or intermittent PCB exposures. Era-modifying factors were applied to the earlier time periods (1946–1974) because exposures were considered to have been greater than in later eras (1975–1977). Such interpolations, extrapolations, and modifying factors may introduce non-differential misclassification; however, we do believe our rigorous method minimized misclassification, as shown by the significant exposure–response trends in the epidemiologic analysis.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB); Job exposure matrix (JEM)
An earlier investigation found increased bladder cancer incidence among workers at a rubber chemical manufacturing plant that used o-toluidine, aniline and nitrobenzene. The cohort was expanded to include additional workers (n=1875) and updated through 2007 to assess bladder cancer with improved exposure characterisation.
Work histories were updated and exposure categories and ranks were developed for o-toluidine, aniline and nitrobenzene combined. Incident cancers were identified by linkage to six state cancer registries. Residency in time-dependent cancer registry catchment areas was determined. SIR and standardised rate ratios for bladder cancer were calculated by exposure category and cumulative rank quartiles for different lag periods. Cox regression was used to model bladder cancer incidence with estimated cumulative rank, adjusting for confounders. Indirect methods were used to control for smoking.
Excess bladder cancer was observed compared to the New York State population (SIR=2.87, 95% CI 2.02 to 3.96), with higher elevations among workers definitely exposed (moderate/high) (SIR=3.90, 95% CI 2.57 to 5.68), and in the highest cumulative rank quartile (SIR=6.13, 95% CI 2.80 to 11.6, 10-year lag). Bladder cancer rates increased significantly with estimated cumulative rank (10-year lag). Smoking only accounted for an estimated 8% elevation in bladder cancer incidence.
Bladder cancer incidence remains elevated in this cohort and significantly associated with estimated cumulative exposure. Results are consistent with earlier findings in this and other cohorts. Despite other concurrent chemical exposures, we consider o-toluidine most likely responsible for the bladder cancer incidence elevation and recommend a re-examination of occupational exposure limits.
We updated through 2007 the mortality experience of 1,874 workers employed at a New York State chemical manufacturing plant between 1946 and 2006.
Reassessed exposures to vinyl chloride, carbon disulfide, and shift work and categories of o-toluidine exposure were based on year, department and job title. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) compared mortality to that of the US population. Internal comparisons used directly standardized rate ratios.
Hepatobiliary cancer mortality was elevated among workers ever exposed to vinyl chloride (SMR =3.80, 95% confidence interval 1.89–6.80); directly standardized rates increased with increasing vinyl chloride exposure duration. No increase in non-Hodgkin lymphoma mortality was observed with vinyl chloride and shift work exposures. Internal comparisons showed increased coronary artery disease mortality among long-term workers exposed to carbon disulfide and shift work for 4 years or more.
Excess coronary artery disease mortality confirms earlier results; further investigation is needed to understand risk factors.
cohort mortality; chemical manufacturing; vinyl chloride; carbon disulfide; o-toluidine; shift work; cancer; coronary artery disease
Brain glioma is a relatively rare and fatal malignancy in adulthood with few known risk factors. Some observational studies have reported inverse associations between diabetes and subsequent glioma risk, but possible mechanisms are unclear.
We conducted a pooled analysis of original data from five nested case-control studies and two case-control studies from the U.S. and China that included 962 glioma cases and 2,195 controls. We examined self-reported diabetes history in relation to glioma risk, as well as effect modification by seven glioma risk-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We also examined the associations between 13 diabetes risk-associated SNPs, identified from genome-wide association studies, and glioma risk. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models.
We observed a 42% reduced risk of glioma for individuals with a history of diabetes (OR=0.58, 95% CI: 0.40–0.84). The association did not differ by sex, study design, or after restricting to glioblastoma, the most common histological sub-type. We did not observe any significant per-allele trends among the 13 diabetes-related SNPs examined in relation to glioma risk.
These results support an inverse association between diabetes history and glioma risk. The role of genetic susceptibility to diabetes cannot be excluded, and should be pursued in future studies together with other factors that might be responsible for the diabetes-glioma association.
These data suggest the need for studies that can evaluate, separately, the association between type 1 and type 2 diabetes and subsequent risk of adult glioma.
diabetes mellitus; brain cancer; glioma; cancer; epidemiology
Common variants in two of the five genetic regions recently identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of risk of glioma were reported to interact with a history of allergic symptoms. In a pooled analysis of five epidemiologic studies, we evaluated the association between the five GWAS implicated gene variants and allergies and autoimmune conditions (AIC) on glioma risk (851 adult glioma cases and 3,977 controls). We further evaluated the joint effects between allergies and AIC and these gene variants on glioma risk. Risk estimates were calculated as odds ratios (OR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI), adjusted for age, gender, and study. Joint effects were evaluated by conducting stratified analyses whereby the risk associations (OR and 95 % CI) with the allergy or autoimmune conditions for glioma were evaluated by the presence or absence of the ‘at-risk’ variant, and estimated p interaction by fitting models with the main effects of allergy or autoimmune conditions and genotype and an interaction (product) term between them. Four of the five SNPs previously reported by others were statistically significantly associated with increased risk of glioma in our study (rs2736100, rs4295627, rs4977756, and rs6010620); rs498872 was not associated with glioma in our study. Reporting any allergies or AIC was associated with reduced risks of glioma (allergy: adjusted OR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.55–0.91; AIC: adjusted OR = 0.65, 95 % CI 0.47–0.90). We did not observe differential association between allergic or autoimmune conditions and glioma by genotype, and there were no statistically significant p interactions. Stratified analysis by glioma grade (low and high grade) did not suggest risk differences by disease grade. Our results do not provide evidence that allergies or AIC modulate the association between the four GWAS-identified SNPs examined and risk of glioma.
Single-nucleotide polymorphisms; Glioma; Allergies; Autoimmune conditions; Gene–environment interaction
Familial cancer can be used to leverage genetic association studies. Recent genome-wide association studies have reported independent associations between seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and risk of glioma. The aim of this study was to investigate whether glioma cases with a positive family history of brain tumours, defined as having at least one first or second degree relative with a history of brain tumour, are associated with known glioma risk loci. 1431 glioma cases and 2868 cancer-free controls were identified from four case-control studies and two prospective cohorts from USA, Sweden, and Denmark and genotyped for seven SNPs previously reported to be associated with glioma risk in case-control designed studies. Odds ratios were calculated by unconditional logistic regression. In analyses including glioma cases with a family history of brain tumours (n=104) and control subjects free of glioma at baseline, three out of seven SNPs were associated with glioma risk; rs2736100 (5p15.33, TERT), rs4977756 (9p21.3, CDKN2A-CDKN2B), and rs6010620 (20q13.33, RTEL1). After Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons, only one marker was statistically significantly associated with glioma risk, rs6010620 (ORtrend for the minor (A) allele, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.25–0.61; Bonferroni adjusted ptrend, 1.7×10−4). In conclusion, as previously shown for glioma regardless of family history of brain tumours, rs6010620 (RTEL1) was associated with an increased risk of glioma when restricting to cases with family history of brain tumours. These findings require confirmation in further studies with a larger number of glioma cases with a family history of brain tumours.
Glioma; brain tumours; genome-wide association study; single nucleotide polymorphism
Gliomas account for approximately 80% of all primary malignant brain tumors, and despite improvements in clinical care over the last 20 years remain among the most lethal tumors, underscoring the need for gaining new insights that could translate into clinical advances. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified seven new susceptibility regions. We conducted a new independent GWAS of glioma using 1,856 cases and 4,955 controls (from 14 cohort studies, 3 casecontrol studies, and 1 population-based case only study) and found evidence of strong replication for three of the seven previously reported associations at 20q13.33 (RTEL), 5p15.33 (TERT), and 9p21.3 (CDKN2BAS), and consistent association signals for the remaining four at 7p11.2 (EGFR both loci), 8q24.21 (CCDC26) and 11q23.3 (PHLDB1). The direction and magnitude of the signal were consistent for samples from cohort and case-control studies, but the strength of the association was more pronounced for loci rs6010620 (20q,13.33; RTEL) and rs2736100 (5p15.33, TERT) in cohort studies despite the smaller number of cases in this group, likely due to relatively more higher grade tumors being captured in the cohort studies. We further examined the 85 most promising single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers identified in our study in three replication sets (5,015 cases and 11,601 controls), but no new markers reached genome-wide significance. Our findings suggest that larger studies focusing on novel approaches as well as specific tumor subtypes or subgroups will be required to identify additional common susceptibility loci for glioma risk.
Background Some, but not all, observational studies have suggested that taller stature is associated with a significant increased risk of glioma. In a pooled analysis of observational studies, we investigated the strength and consistency of this association, overall and for major sub-types, and investigated effect modification by genetic susceptibility to the disease.
Methods We standardized and combined individual-level data on 1354 cases and 4734 control subjects from 13 prospective and 2 case–control studies. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for glioma and glioma sub-types were estimated using logistic regression models stratified by sex and adjusted for birth cohort and study. Pooled ORs were additionally estimated after stratifying the models according to seven recently identified glioma-related genetic variants.
Results Among men, we found a positive association between height and glioma risk (≥190 vs 170–174 cm, pooled OR = 1.70, 95% CI: 1.11–2.61; P-trend = 0.01), which was slightly stronger after restricting to cases with glioblastoma (pooled OR = 1.99, 95% CI: 1.17–3.38; P-trend = 0.02). Among women, these associations were less clear (≥175 vs 160–164 cm, pooled OR for glioma = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.70–1.62; P-trend = 0.22; pooled OR for glioblastoma = 1.36, 95% CI: 0.77–2.39; P-trend = 0.04). In general, we did not observe evidence of effect modification by glioma-related genotypes on the association between height and glioma risk.
Conclusion An association of taller adult stature with glioma, particularly for men and stronger for glioblastoma, should be investigated further to clarify the role of environmental and genetic determinants of height in the etiology of this disease.
Height; brain cancer; glioma; cancer; epidemiology
In a pooled analysis of 4 US epidemiologic studies (1993–2001), the authors evaluated the role of 5 female reproductive factors in 357 women with glioma and 822 controls. The authors further evaluated the independent association between 5 implicated gene variants and glioma risk among the study population, as well as the joint associations of female reproductive factors (ages at menarche and menopause, menopausal status, use of oral contraceptives, and menopausal hormone therapy) and these gene variants on glioma risk. Risk estimates were calculated as odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals that were adjusted for age, race, and study. Three of the gene variants (rs4295627, a variant of CCDC26; rs4977756, a variant of CDKN2A and CDKN2B; and rs6010620, a variant of RTEL1) were statistically significantly associated with glioma risk in the present population. Compared with women who had an early age at menarche (<12 years of age), those who reported menarche at 12–13 years of age or at 14 years of age or older had a 1.7-fold higher risk and a 1.9-fold higher risk of glioma, respectively (P for trend = 0.009). Postmenopausal women and women who reported ever having used oral contraceptives had a decreased risk of glioma. The authors did not observe joint associations between these reproductive characteristics and the implicated glioma gene variants. These results require replication, but if confirmed, they would suggest that the gene variants that have previously been implicated in the development of glioma are unlikely to act through the same hormonal mechanisms in women.
genes; glioma; menstrual cycle; polymorphism, single nucleotide; reproduction; women
In an analysis of 31,717 cancer cases and 26,136 cancer-free controls drawn from 13 genome-wide association studies (GWAS), we observed large chromosomal abnormalities in a subset of clones from DNA obtained from blood or buccal samples. Mosaic chromosomal abnormalities, either aneuploidy or copy-neutral loss of heterozygosity, of size >2 Mb were observed in autosomes of 517 individuals (0.89%) with abnormal cell proportions between 7% and 95%. In cancer-free individuals, the frequency increased with age; 0.23% under 50 and 1.91% between 75 and 79 (p=4.8×10−8). Mosaic abnormalities were more frequent in individuals with solid-tumors (0.97% versus 0.74% in cancer-free individuals, OR=1.25, p=0.016), with a stronger association for cases who had DNA collected prior to diagnosis or treatment (OR=1.45, p=0.0005). Detectable clonal mosaicism was common in individuals for whom DNA was collected at least one year prior to diagnosis of leukemia compared to cancer-free individuals (OR=35.4, p=3.8×10−11). These findings underscore the importance of the role and time-dependent nature of somatic events in the etiology of cancer and other late-onset diseases.
Oligodendroglial tumors are rare subtypes of brain tumors and are often combined with other glial tumors in epidemiological analyses. However, different demographic associations and clinical characteristics suggest potentially different risk factors. The purpose of this study was to investigate possible risk factors for oligodendroglial tumors (including oligodendroglioma, anaplastic oligodendroglioma, and mixed glioma). Data from 7 case–control studies (5 US and 2 Scandinavian) were pooled. Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for age group, gender, and study site. Data on 617 cases and 1260 controls were available for analyses. Using data from all 7 studies, history of allergies and/or asthma was associated with a decreased risk of anaplastic oligodendroglioma (OR = 0.6; 95% CI: 0.4–0.9), and history of asthma only was associated with a decreased risk of oligodendroglioma (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3–0.9) and anaplastic oligodendroglioma (OR = 0.3; 95% CI: 0.1–0.9). A family history of brain tumors was associated with an increased risk of anaplastic oligodendroglioma (OR = 2.2; 95% CI: 1.1–4.5). Having had chicken pox was associated with a decreased risk of oligodendroglioma (OR = 0.6; 95% CI: 0.4–0.9) and anaplastic oligodendroglioma (OR = 0.5; 95% CI: 0.3–0.9) in the US studies. Although there is some overlap in risk factors between oligodendroglial tumors and gliomas as a group, it is likely that additional factors specific to oligodendroglial tumors have yet to be identified. Large, multi-institution international studies will be necessary to better characterize these etiological risk factors.
anaplastic oligodendroglioma; epidemiology; mixed glioma; oligodendroglioma; risk factors
Objectives: Occupational exposure assessment for population-based case–control studies is challenging due to the wide variety of industries and occupations encountered by study participants. We developed and evaluated statistical models to estimate the intensity of exposure to three chlorinated solvents—methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and trichloroethylene—using a database of air measurement data and associated exposure determinants.
Methods: A measurement database was developed after an extensive review of the published industrial hygiene literature. The database of nearly 3000 measurements or summary measurements included sample size, measurement characteristics (year, duration, and type), and several potential exposure determinants associated with the measurements: mechanism of release (e.g. evaporation), process condition, temperature, usage rate, type of ventilation, location, presence of a confined space, and proximity to the source. The natural log-transformed measurement levels in the exposure database were modeled as a function of the measurement characteristics and exposure determinants using maximum likelihood methods. Assuming a single lognormal distribution of the measurements, an arithmetic mean exposure intensity level was estimated for each unique combination of exposure determinants and decade.
Results: The proportions of variability in the measurement data explained by the modeled measurement characteristics and exposure determinants were 36, 38, and 54% for methylene chloride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and trichloroethylene, respectively. Model parameter estimates for the exposure determinants were in the anticipated direction. Exposure intensity estimates were plausible and exhibited internal consistency, but the ability to evaluate validity was limited.
Conclusions: These prediction models can be used to estimate chlorinated solvent exposure intensity for jobs reported by population-based case–control study participants that have sufficiently detailed information regarding the exposure determinants.
case–control study; exposure assessment; exposure determinants; occupational exposure
Though commercial production of polychlorinated biphenyls was banned in the United States in 1977, exposure continues due to their environmental persistence. Several studies have examined the association between environmental polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and modulations of the secondary sex ratio, with conflicting results.
Our objective was to evaluate the association between maternal preconceptional occupational polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and the secondary sex ratio.
We examined primipara singleton births of 2595 women, who worked in three capacitor plants at least one year during the period polychlorinated biphenyls were used. Cumulative estimated maternal occupational polychlorinated biphenyl exposure at the time of the infant's conception was calculated from plant-specific job-exposure matrices. A logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate the association between maternal polychlorinated biphenyl exposure and male sex at birth (yes/no).
Maternal body mass index at age 20, smoking status, and race did not vary between those occupationally exposed and those unexposed before the child's conception. Polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed mothers were, however, more likely to have used oral contraceptives and to have been older at the birth of their first child than non-occupationally exposed women. Among 1506 infants liveborn to polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed primiparous women, 49.8% were male; compared to 49.9% among those not exposed (n = 1089). Multivariate analyses controlling for mother's age and year of birth found no significant association between the odds of a male birth and mother's cumulative estimated polychlorinated biphenyl exposure to time of conception.
Based on these data, we find no evidence of altered sex ratio among children born to primiparous polychlorinated biphenyl-exposed female workers.
Significant numbers of people are exposed to tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene, PCE) every year, including workers in the dry cleaning industry. Adverse health effects have been associated with PCE exposure. However, investigations of possible cumulative cytogenetic damage resulting from PCE exposure are lacking.
Eighteen dry cleaning workers and 18 laundry workers (unexposed controls) provided a peripheral blood sample for cytogenetic analysis by whole chromosome painting. Pre-shift exhaled air on these same participants was collected and analyzed for PCE levels. The laundry workers were matched to the dry cleaners on race, age, and smoking status. The relationships between levels of cytological damage and exposures (including PCE levels in the shop and in workers' blood, packyears, cumulative alcohol consumption, and age) were compared with correlation coefficients and t-tests. Multiple linear regressions considered blood PCE, packyears, alcohol, and age.
There were no significant differences between the PCE-exposed dry cleaners and the laundry workers for chromosome translocation frequencies, but PCE levels were significantly correlated with percentage of cells with acentric fragments (R2 = 0.488, p < 0.026).
There does not appear to be a strong effect in these dry cleaning workers of PCE exposure on persistent chromosome damage as measured by translocations. However, the correlation between frequencies of acentric fragments and PCE exposure level suggests that recent exposures to PCE may induce transient genetic damage. More heavily exposed participants and a larger sample size will be needed to determine whether PCE exposure induces significant levels of persistent chromosome damage.
There are some common occupational agents and exposure circumstances for which evidence of carcinogenicity is substantial but not yet conclusive for humans. Our objectives were to identify research gaps and needs for 20 agents prioritized for review based on evidence of widespread human exposures and potential carcinogenicity in animals or humans.
For each chemical agent (or category of agents), a systematic review was conducted of new data published since the most recent pertinent International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monograph meeting on that agent.
Reviewers were charged with identifying data gaps and general and specific approaches to address them, focusing on research that would be important in resolving classification uncertainties. An expert meeting brought reviewers together to discuss each agent and the identified data gaps and approaches.
Several overarching issues were identified that pertained to multiple agents; these included the importance of recognizing that carcinogenic agents can act through multiple toxicity pathways and mechanisms, including epigenetic mechanisms, oxidative stress, and immuno- and hormonal modulation.
Studies in occupational populations provide important opportunities to understand the mechanisms through which exogenous agents cause cancer and intervene to prevent human exposure and/or prevent or detect cancer among those already exposed. Scientific developments are likely to increase the challenges and complexities of carcinogen testing and evaluation in the future, and epidemiologic studies will be particularly critical to inform carcinogen classification and risk assessment processes.
animal; carcinogen; carcinogenesis; epidemiology; human; IARC; mechanisms of carcinogenicity; occupational
Current evidence suggests that immune system alterations contribute to the etiology of adult glioma, the most common adult brain tumor. While previous studies have focused on variation in candidate genes in the adaptive immune system, the innate immune system has emerged as a critical avenue for research given its known link with carcinogenesis. To identify genetic markers in pathways critical to innate immunity, we conducted an association study of 551 glioma cases and 865 matched controls of European ancestry to investigate “tag” single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 148 genetic regions. Two independent U.S. case-control studies were included: a hospital-based study conducted by the National Cancer Institute (263 cases, 330 controls); and a community-based study conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (288 cases, 535 controls). 1,397 tag SNPs chosen on the basis of an r2> 0.8 and minor allele frequency > 5% in Caucasians in HapMap1 were genotyped. Glioma risk was estimated by odds ratios. Nine SNPs distributed across eight genetic regions (ALOX5, IRAK3, ITGB2, NCF2, NFKB1, SELP (2), SOD1 and STAT1) were associated with risk of glioma with p<0.01. While these associations were no longer statistically significant after controlling for multiple comparisons, the associations were notably consistent in both studies. Region-based tests were statistically significant (p<0.05) for SELP, SOD and ALOX5. Analyses restricted to glioblastoma (n=254) yielded significant associations for the SELP, DEFB126/127, SERPINI1 and LY96 genetic regions. We have identified a promising set of innate immunity-related genetic regions for further investigation.
Polymorphism; genetic region; innate immunity; brain; tumor; neoplasm; glioma; case-control
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I genes mediate cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses and natural killer cell function. In a previous study, several HLA-B and HLA-C alleles and haplotypes were positively or negatively associated with the occurrence and prognosis of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
As an extension of the Upper Midwest Health Study, we have performed HLA genotyping for 149 GBM patients and 149 healthy control subjects from a non-metropolitan population consisting almost exclusively of European Americans. Conditional logistic regression models did not reproduce the association of HLA-B*07 or the B*07-Cw*07 haplotype with GBM. Nonetheless, HLA-A*32, which has previously been shown to predispose GBM patients to a favorable prognosis, was negatively associated with occurrence of GBM (odds ratio = 0.41, p = 0.04 by univariate analysis). Other alleles (A*29, A*30, A*31 and A*33) within the A19 serology group to which A*32 belongs showed inconsistent trends. Sequencing-based HLA-A genotyping established that A*3201 was the single A*32 allele underlying the observed association. Additional evaluation of HLA-A promoter and exon 1 sequences did not detect any unexpected single nucleotide polymorphisms that could suggest differential allelic expression. Further analyses restricted to female GBM cases and controls revealed a second association with a specific HLA-B sequence motif corresponding to Bw4-80Ile (odds ratio = 2.71, p = 0.02).
HLA-A allelic product encoded by A*3201 is likely to be functionally important to GBM. The novel, sex-specific association will require further confirmation in other representative study populations.
Despite the endocrine system activity exhibited by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), recent studies have shown little association between PCB exposure and breast cancer mortality.
To further evaluate the relation between PCB exposure and breast cancer risk, we studied incidence, a more sensitive end point than mortality, in an occupational cohort.
We followed 5,752 women employed for at least 1 year in one of three capacitor manufacturing facilities, identifying cases from questionnaires, cancer registries, and death certificates through 1998. We collected lifestyle and reproductive information via questionnaire from participants or next of kin and used semiquantitative job-exposure matrices for inhalation and dermal exposures combined. We generated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) and standardized rate ratios and used Cox proportional hazards regression models to evaluate potential confounders and effect modifiers.
Overall, the breast cancer SIR was 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.72–0.92; n = 257), and regression modeling showed little effect of employment duration or cumulative exposure. However, for the 362 women of questionnaire-identified races other than white, we observed positive, statistically significant associations with employment duration and cumulative exposure; only smoking, birth cohort, and self- or proxy questionnaire completion had statistically significant explanatory power when added to models with exposure metrics.
We found no overall elevation in breast cancer risk after occupational exposure to PCBs. However, the exposure-related risk elevations seen among nonwhite workers, although of limited interpretability given the small number of cases, warrant further investigation, because the usual reproductive risk factors accounted for little of the increased risk.
breast cancer; incidence; occupational epidemiology; polychlorinated biphenyls
The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility of conducting biological tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene, PCE) exposure assessments of dry cleaning employees in conjunction with evaluation of possible PCE health effects.
Eighteen women from four dry cleaning facilities in southwestern Ohio were monitored in a pilot study of workers with PCE exposure. Personal breathing zone samples were collected from each employee on two consecutive work days. Biological monitoring included a single measurement of PCE in blood and multiple measurements of pre- and post-shift PCE in exhaled breath and trichloroacetic acid (TCA) in urine.
Post-shift PCE in exhaled breath gradually increased throughout the work week. Statistically significant correlations were observed among the exposure indices. Decreases in PCE in exhaled breath and TCA in urine were observed after two days without exposure to PCE. A mixed-effects model identified statistically significant associations between PCE in exhaled breath and airborne PCE time weighted average (TWA) after adjusting for a random participant effect and fixed effects of time and body mass index.
Although comprehensive, our sampling strategy was challenging to implement due to fluctuating work schedules and the number (pre- and post-shift on three consecutive days) and multiplicity (air, blood, exhaled breath, and urine) of samples collected. PCE in blood is the preferred biological index to monitor exposures, but may make recruitment difficult. PCE TWA sampling is an appropriate surrogate, although more field intensive. Repeated measures of exposure and mixed-effects modeling may be required for future studies due to high within-subject variability. Workers should be monitored over a long enough period of time to allow the use of a lag term.