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J Epidemiol Biostat. 2000;5(3):153-60.

Oxychlordane and trans-nonachlor in breast adipose tissue and risk of female breast cancer.

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Yale University School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, USA.



Organochlorine compounds, including organochlorine pesticides, have been suggested by some, but not all, studies to be associated with female breast-cancer risk. So far, studies relating organochlorine compounds and breast-cancer risk have mainly focused on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) as risk factors for female breast cancer. This paper examines the hypothesis that environmental exposure to trans-nonachlor (TNC) and oxychlordane (OCD), a major metabolite of the insecticide chlordane, increases the


A total of 304 histologically confirmed, incident primary breast-cancer patients and 186 histologically confirmed incident benign breast-disease controls were included in the study between 1994 and 1997. Breast adipose tissue not needed for diagnostic purposes was collected and analysed for TNC, OCD and other organochlorine compounds. A standardised, structured questionnaire was used to obtain information on major known, or suspected, risk factors for breast cancer.


The age and lipid-adjusted geometric mean adipose-tissue levels of OCD were similar between the cases [36.4 p.p.b., 95% confidence interval (CI) 34.7-38.2 p.p.b.] and controls (38.0 p.p.b., 95% Cl 35.7-40.6 p.p.b.). The age and lipid-adjusted geometric mean adipose-tissue levels of TNC between the cases (55.5 p.p.b., 95% CI 52.6-58.5 p.p.b.) and controls (58.1 p.p.b., 95% CI 54.2-62.3 p.p.b.) were also similar. There was no association between breast-cancer risk and mean adipose-tissue levels of OCD and TNC. The covariate-adjusted odds ratio (OR) was 0.7 (95% CI 0.4-1.3) for OCD and 1.1 (95% CI 0.6-1.9) for TNC, when the highest quartile was compared with the lowest. The risk also did not vary based on oestrogen or progesterone receptor status or menopausal status.


We found no significantly increased risk of breast cancer associated with breast adipose-tissue levels of OCD or TNC; this is consistent with recent epidemiological studies, indicating that environmental exposure to organochlorine compounds does not have an overall significant impact on breast-cancer risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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