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Environ Res. 2005 Sep;99(1):118-25.

Associations between serum levels of selected organochlorine compounds and endometriosis in infertile Japanese women.

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  • 1Epidemiology and Prevention Division, Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, National Cancer Center Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan.


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been proposed as risk factors for endometriosis. Persistent organochlorine compounds, a group of suspected EDCs, are present to some extent in almost all human adipose tissue and blood via the food chain. A few animal studies have confirmed that exposure to these compounds can increase the incidence of endometriosis. In this study, we examined the associations between endometriosis and exposure to selected organochlorine compounds, including 8 polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), 10 polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), 4 coplanar polychlorinated biphenyls (cPCBs), 36 ortho-substituted polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and 13 chlorinated pesticides or their metabolites. The participants were 139 infertile Japanese women who were examined by laparoscopy and diagnosed as either endometriosis cases (Stages II-IV) or controls (Stages 0-I). The serum levels (lipid adjusted) of the targeted organochlorine compounds were in both 58 cases and 81 controls. There were very few differences in the various levels between endometriosis cases and controls. The total serum toxic equivalency (TEQ) value of PCDDs was significantly higher in the controls than in the cases (P=0.02). No other total TEQ values differed between cases and controls. For PCDDs, PCDFs, cPCBs, and PCBs, the multivariate odds ratio was 0.38 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.12-1.17] and 0.41 (95% CI, 0.14-1.27) for the third and highest quartiles, respectively, compared to the lowest quartile of total TEQ values. A weak, negative dose-response relationship was evident for total TEQs (P for trend of 0.06). The results of this study provide some evidence that serum levels of these organochlorine compounds are not associated with an increased risk of endometriosis in infertile Japanese women.

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