BACKGROUND: An increased risk of lung cancers among asphalt workers has been suggested in epidemiological studies based on large scale statistical analyses. METHODS: In a multi-country study of 29,820 male workers employed in road paving, asphalt mixing and roofing, 32,245 ground and building construction workers and 17,757 other workers from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, with mortality that was documented from 1953-2000. Exposures to bitumen fume, coal tar, 4-6 ring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, organic vapor, diesel exhaust, asbestos, and silica dust were assessed via a job-exposure matrix. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) based on national mortality rates, as well as relative risks (RRs) based on Poisson regression models were calculated. RESULTS: The SMR of lung cancer among workers exposed to bitumen fume (1.08, 95% CI 0.99-1.18) was comparable to that of non-exposed workers (SMR 1.05, 95% CI 0.92-1.19). In a sub-cohort of bitumen-exposed workers without exposure to coal tar, the SMR of lung cancer was 1.23 (95% CI 1.02-1.48). The analysis based on the semi-quantitative, matrix-based exposures in the whole cohort did not suggest an increased lung cancer risk following exposure to bitumen fume. However, in an analysis restricted to road pavers, based on quantitative estimate of bitumen fume exposure, a dose-response was suggested for average level of exposure, applying a 15-year lag, which was marginally reduced after adjustment for co-exposure to coal tar. The results for cancer of the head and neck were similar to those of lung cancer, although they were based on a smaller number of deaths. There was no clear suggestion of an association with bitumen fume for any other neoplasm. CONCLUSIONS: The results of the analysis by bitumen fume exposure do not allow us to conclude on the presence or absence of a causal link between exposure to bitumen fume and risk of cancer of the lung and the head and neck.
BACKGROUND: Inhalation of bitumen fumes is potentially carcinogenic to humans. METHODS: We conducted a study of 29,820 male workers exposed to bitumen in road paving, asphalt mixing and roofing, 32,245 ground and building construction workers unexposed to bitumen, and 17,757 workers not classifiable as bitumen workers, from Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden, with mortality follow-up during 1953-2000. We calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) based on national mortality rates. Poisson regression analyses compared mortality of bitumen workers to that of building or ground construction workers. RESULTS: The overall mortality was below expectation in the total cohort (SMR 0.92, 95% CI 0.90-0.94) and in each group of workers. The SMR of lung cancer was higher among bitumen workers (1.17, 95% CI 1.04-1.30) than among workers in ground and building construction (SMR 1.01, 95% CI 0.89-1.15). In the internal comparison, the relative risk (RR) of lung cancer mortality among bitumen workers was 1.09 (95% CI 0.89-1.34). The results of cancer of the head and neck were similar to those of lung cancer, based on a smaller number of deaths. There was no suggestion of an association between employment in bitumen jobs and other cancers. CONCLUSIONS: European workers employed in road paving, asphalt mixing and other jobs entailing exposure to bitumen fume might have experienced a small increase in lung cancer mortality risk, compared to workers in ground and building construction. However, exposure assessment was limited and confounding from exposure to carcinogens in other industries, tobacco smoking, and other lifestyle factors cannot be ruled out.
Lung cancer is mainly caused by smoking, but the quantitative relations between smoking and histologic subtypes of lung cancer remain inconclusive. By using one of the largest lung cancer datasets ever assembled, we explored the impact of smoking on risks of the major cell types of lung cancer. This pooled analysis included 13,169 cases and 16,010 controls from Europe and Canada. Studies with population controls comprised 66.5% of the subjects. Adenocarcinoma (AdCa) was the most prevalent subtype in never smokers and in women. Squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) predominated in male smokers. Age-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were estimated with logistic regression. ORs were elevated for all metrics of exposure to cigarette smoke and were higher for SqCC and small cell lung cancer (SCLC) than for AdCa. Current male smokers with an average daily dose of >30 cigarettes had ORs of 103.5 (95% confidence interval (CI): 74.8-143.2) for SqCC, 111.3 (95% CI: 69.8-177.5) for SCLC and 21.9 (95% CI: 16.6-29.0) for AdCa. In women, the corresponding ORs were 62.7 (95% CI: 31.5-124.6), 108.6 (95% CI: 50.7-232.8) and 16.8 (95% CI: 9.2-30.6), respectively. Although ORs started to decline soon after quitting, they did not fully return to the baseline risk of never smokers even 35 years after cessation. The major result that smoking exerted a steeper risk gradient on SqCC and SCLC than on AdCa is in line with previous population data and biological understanding of lung cancer development.
BACKGROUND: An exposure matrix (EM) for known and suspected carcinogens was required for a multicenter international cohort study of cancer risk and bitumen among asphalt workers. METHODS: Production characteristics in companies enrolled in the study were ascertained through use of a company questionnaire (CQ). Exposures to coal tar, bitumen fume, organic vapor, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, diesel fume, silica, and asbestos were assessed semi-quantitatively using information from CQs, expert judgment, and statistical models. Exposures of road paving workers to bitumen fume, organic vapor, and benzo(a)pyrene were estimated quantitatively by applying regression models, based on monitoring data, to exposure scenarios identified by the CQs. RESULTS: Exposures estimates were derived for 217 companies enrolled in the cohort, plus the Swedish asphalt paving industry in general. Most companies were engaged in road paving and asphalt mixing, but some also participated in general construction and roofing. Coal tar use was most common in Denmark and The Netherlands, but the practice is now obsolete. Quantitative estimates of exposure to bitumen fume, organic vapor, and benzo(a)pyrene for pavers, and semi-quantitative estimates of exposure to these agents among all subjects were strongly correlated. Semi-quantitative estimates of exposure to bitumen fume and coal tar exposures were only moderately correlated. EM assessed non-monotonic historical decrease in exposures to all agents assessed except silica and diesel exhaust. CONCLUSIONS: We produced a data-driven EM using methodology that can be adapted for other multicenter studies.
Diesel motor exhaust is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as probably carcinogenic to humans. The epidemiologic evidence is evaluated as limited because most studies lack adequate control for potential confounders and only a few studies have reported on exposure-response relationships.
Investigate lung cancer risk associated with occupational exposure to diesel motor exhaust, while controlling for potential confounders.
The SYNERGY project pooled information on lifetime work histories and tobacco smoking from 13,304 cases and 16,282 controls from 11 case-control studies conducted in Europe and Canada. A general population job exposure matrix based on ISCO-68 occupational codes, assigning no, low, or high exposure to diesel motor exhaust, was applied to determine level of exposure.
Odds ratios of lung cancer and 95% confidence intervals were estimated by unconditional logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, study, ever-employment in an occupation with established lung cancer risk, cigarette pack-years, and time-since-quitting smoking. Cumulative diesel exposure was associated with an increased lung cancer risk highest quartile versus unexposed (odds ratio 1.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.19-1.43), and a significant exposure-response relationship (P value
Comment In: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Sep 1;184(5):619; author reply 619-2021885639
Comment In: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Apr 1;183(7):843-421471076
Comment In: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Jan 1;185(1):104-6; author reply 106-722210791
Comment In: Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Jan 1;185(1):104; author reply 106-722210790
Recent evidence suggests that inflammation plays a pivotal role in the development of lung cancer. In this study, we used a two-stage approach to investigate associations between genetic variants in inflammation pathways and lung cancer risk based on genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. A total of 7,650 sequence variants from 720 genes relevant to inflammation pathways were identified using keyword and pathway searches from Gene Cards and Gene Ontology databases. In Stage 1, six GWAS datasets from the International Lung Cancer Consortium were pooled (4,441 cases and 5,094 controls of European ancestry), and a hierarchical modeling (HM) approach was used to incorporate prior information for each of the variants into the analysis. The prior matrix was constructed using (1) role of genes in the inflammation and immune pathways; (2) physical properties of the variants including the location of the variants, their conservation scores and amino acid coding; (3) LD with other functional variants and (4) measures of heterogeneity across the studies. HM affected the priority ranking of variants particularly among those having low prior weights, imprecise estimates and/or heterogeneity across studies. In Stage 2, we used an independent NCI lung cancer GWAS study (5,699 cases and 5,818 controls) for in silico replication. We identified one novel variant at the level corrected for multiple comparisons (rs2741354 in EPHX2 at 8q21.1 with p value = 7.4 × 10(-6)), and confirmed the associations between TERT (rs2736100) and the HLA region and lung cancer risk. HM allows for prior knowledge such as from bioinformatic sources to be incorporated into the analysis systematically, and it represents a complementary analytical approach to the conventional GWAS analysis.
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OBJECTIVE: To examine whether adherence to the modified Mediterranean diet, in which unsaturates were substituted for monounsaturates, is associated with longer life expectancy among elderly Europeans. DESIGN: Multicentre, prospective cohort study. SETTING: Nine European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom). PARTICIPANTS: 74,607 men and women, aged 60 or more, without coronary heart disease, stroke, or cancer at enrolment and with complete information about dietary intake and potentially confounding variables. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Extent of adherence to a modified Mediterranean diet using a scoring system on a 10 point scale, and death from any cause by time of occurrence, modelled through Cox regression. RESULTS: An increase in the modified Mediterranean diet score was associated with lower overall mortality, a two unit increment corresponding to a statistically significant reduction of 8% (95% confidence interval 3% to 12%). No statistically significant evidence of heterogeneity was found among countries in the association of the score with overall mortality even though the association was stronger in Greece and Spain. When dietary exposures were calibrated across countries, the reduction in mortality was 7% (1% to 12%). CONCLUSION: The Mediterranean diet, modified so as to apply across Europe, was associated with increased survival among older people.
Comment In: BMJ. 2005 Jun 4;330(7503):1329; author reply 1329-3015933361
Comment In: BMJ. 2005 Jun 4;330(7503):1329; author reply 1329-3015933360
Work in the asphalt industry has been associated with nonmalignant respiratory morbidity and mortality, but the evidence is not consistent. A historical cohort of asphalt workers included 58,862 men (911,209 person-years) first employed between 1913 and 1999 in companies applying and mixing asphalt in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, and Norway. The relations between mortality from nonmalignant respiratory diseases (including the obstructive lung diseases: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma) and specific chemical agents and mixtures were evaluated using a study-specific exposure matrix. Mortality from obstructive lung diseases was associated with the estimated cumulative and average exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and coal tar (p values of the test for linear trend = 0.06 and 0.01, respectively). The positive association between bitumen fume exposure and mortality from obstructive lung diseases was weak and not statistically significant; confounding by simultaneous exposure to coal tar could not be excluded. The authors lacked data on smoking and full occupational histories. In conclusion, exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, originating from coal tar and possibly from bitumen fume, may have contributed to mortality from obstructive lung diseases among asphalt workers, but confounding and bias cannot be ruled out as an explanation for the observed associations.
Organic dust is a complex mixture of particulate matter from microbial, plant or animal origin. Occupations with exposure to animal products have been associated with an increased lung cancer risk, while exposure to microbial components (eg, endotoxin) has been associated with a decreased risk. To date there has not been a comprehensive evaluation of the possible association between occupational organic dust exposure (and its specific constituents) and lung cancer risk in the general population.
The SYNERGY project has pooled information on lifetime working and smoking from 13 300 lung cancer cases and 16 273 controls from 11 case-control studies conducted in Europe and Canada. A newly developed general population job-exposure matrix (assigning no, low or high exposure to organic dust, endotoxin, and contact with animals or fresh animal products) was applied to determine level of exposure. ORs for lung cancer were estimated by logistic regression, adjusted for age, sex, study, cigarette pack-years, time since quitting smoking, and ever employment in occupations with established lung cancer risk.
Occupational organic dust exposure was associated with increased lung cancer risk. The second to the fourth quartile of cumulative exposure showed significant risk estimates ranging from 1.12 to 1.24 in a dose-dependent manner (p