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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1986 Dec;77(6):1217-24.

Brain cancer and other causes of death in anatomists.


Anatomists are exposed to a wide range of solvents, stains, and preservatives used to prepare biologic specimens. One fixative, formaldehyde, has recently been shown to cause nasal cancer in laboratory rodents. A retrospective cohort study was conducted to assess whether anatomists have an increased risk of mortality from cancer, particularly from cancers of the respiratory tract. The cohort included 2,317 men who joined the American Association of Anatomists between 1888 and 1969 and who were living in the United States when they joined this association. Standardized mortality ratios were 0.3 for lung cancer [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.1-0.5], 1.5 for leukemia (95% CI = 0.7-2.7), and 2.7 for brain cancer (95% CI = 1.3-5.0) when mortality rates for U.S. white males, available for 1925-79, were used as the referent. When rates for male members of the American Psychiatric Association, available for 1900-69, were used as the referent, standardized mortality ratios were 0.5 for lung cancer (95% CI = 0.2-1.1) and 6.0 for brain cancer (95% CI = 2.3-15.6). Each of the 10 anatomists who died of brain cancer between 1925 and 1979 had a neuroglial cell tumor (either astrocytoma or glioblastoma). The increased risk for leukemia was limited to the myeloid cell type. An etiologic agent associated with these increased risks was not identified.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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