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J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Feb;40(1):58-63.

Nasal polyps: heredity, allergies, and environmental and occupational exposure.

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Department of Public Health, Faculty of Nursing, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.



To determine the role of heredity, allergies, smoking, and environmental and occupational exposure in the epidemiology of nasal polyposis.


A case-control study comprising 100 patients with nasal polyps admitted to three Athens hospitals and 102 controls from the general population. Gender, educational level, family history, allergies, smoking, occupational activities, and environmental exposure were examined as eventual determinants. The prevalence of each determinant was compared between cases and controls using multiple logistic regression, and odds ratios (ORs) were estimated.


A total of 13.3% of the patients and none of the controls had a history of polyps in the family. According to multiple logistic regression, the OR for certain allergies was 19.1 and for probable allergy was 9.0, with the prevalence among patients being 64% and 12%, respectively. The OR for certain environmental exposures was 15.0 and for occupational exposures was 21.4. Occupational exposure to chemicals was a predominant factor among patients. No significant difference was found between nasal polyps and educational level or smoking habits.


The development of nasal polyps seems to be strongly related to family history and a history of allergies, but the role of smoking remains controversial. Occupational and environmental exposures probably enhance the appearance of the disease on the basis of genetic predisposition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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