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Int J Cancer. 2006 Feb 1;118(3):721-7.

Occupational factors and risk of adult bone sarcomas: a multicentric case-control study in Europe.

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  • 1Cancer Epidemiology Unit, CERMS and Centre for Oncologic Prevention, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.


We investigated the association between occupational factors and risk of bone sarcoma, a rare tumor with a largely unknown aetiology. A multicentric case-control study was conducted in 7 European countries in 1995-97. Ninety-six cases aged 35-69 years with a centrally reviewed diagnosis of bone sarcoma (68 chondrosarcomas and 28 osteosarcomas) were compared to 2,632 population (68%) or colon cancer (32%) controls. Subjects were interviewed to obtain information on occupational, medical and reproductive history, smoking and alcohol consumption and selected exposures including use of pesticides. Response proportions were 90% among cases and 66% among controls. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for selected categories of job titles and branches of industry and for use of pesticides. We found an increased OR for bone sarcoma among blacksmiths, toolmakers, machine-tool operators (OR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.08-4.26), woodworkers (OR = 2.68, 95% CI 1.36-5.29) and construction workers (OR = 1.62, 95% CI 0.92-2.87). Ever users of pesticide had an OR of 2.33 (95% CI 1.31-4.13), with similar risks for exposure to insecticides and exposure to herbicides. Neither duration of employment in any of the analyzed occupational categories nor duration of use of pesticides showed an increasing trend in the risk of bone sarcoma. ORs of bone sarcoma were 1.03 (95% CI 0.23-4.57), 3.13 (95% CI 1.26-7.76) and 1.44 (95% CI 0.43-4.85) for the first, second and third tertile of days of use of pesticides. Our study suggests that novel and previously reported (woodworking) occupational factors play a role in the aetiology of bone sarcomas.

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