Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Health Perspect. 2010 Nov;118(11):1578-83. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002221.

Postmenopausal breast cancer is associated with exposure to traffic-related air pollution in Montreal, Canada: a case-control study.

Author information

Department of Geography, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



Only about 30% of cases of breast cancer can be explained by accepted risk factors. Occupational studies have shown associations between the incidence of breast cancer and exposure to contaminants that are found in ambient air.


We sought to determine whether the incidence of postmenopausal breast cancer is associated with exposure to urban air pollution.


We used data from a case-control study conducted in Montreal, Quebec, in 1996-1997. Cases were 383 women with incident invasive breast cancer, and controls were 416 women with other incident, malignant cancers, excluding those potentially associated with selected occupational exposures. Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were measured across Montreal in 2005-2006. We developed a land-use regression model to predict concentrations of NO2 across Montreal for 2006, and developed two methods to extrapolate the estimates to 1985 and 1996. We linked these estimates to addresses of residences of subjects at time of interview. We used unconditional logistic regression to adjust for accepted and suspected risk factors and occupational exposures.


For each increase of 5 ppb NO2 estimated in 1996, the adjusted odds ratio was 1.31 (95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.71). Although the size of effect varied somewhat across periods, we found an increased risk of approximately 25% for every increase of 5 ppb in exposure.


We found evidence of an association between the incidence of postmenopausal breast cancer and exposure to ambient concentrations of NO2. Further studies are needed to confirm whether NO2 or other components of traffic-related pollution are indeed associated with increased risks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center