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Am J Ind Med. 2012 May;55(5):423-8. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22017. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Increased lung cancer risk among bricklayers in an Italian population-based case-control study.

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Unit of Epidemiology, Department of Preventive Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda - Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy.

Erratum in

  • Am J Ind Med. 2013 Jul;56(7):825.



Bricklayers may be at increased risk of lung cancer, although a firm association has not been established. We examined this association within the EAGLE (Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology) study, a population-based case-control study conducted in Italy between 2002 and 2005.


For men in selected occupations in the construction sector we calculated smoking-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). For bricklayers we estimated the population attributable fraction (PAF) and the attributable community risk (ACR).


We found increased lung cancer risk for bricklayers (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.12-2.21; 147 cases, 81 controls). The PAF was 3.5% (95% CI 0.6-6.3), corresponding to an ACR of 3.6 cases annually per 100,000 men (95% CI 0.6-6.6) [corrected] in the whole community. Among bricklayers, there were increased risks for squamous cell (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.32-3.13, 56 exposed cases) and small cell carcinomas (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.29-4.07, 21 exposed cases), while no excess (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.68-1.65, 41 exposed cases) was found for adenocarcinoma.


Our findings provide additional evidence of increased lung cancer risk in Italian bricklayers. The association is plausible because they are exposed to several carcinogens, notably crystalline silica.

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