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Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013 Dec;67(3):421-33. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2013.08.021. Epub 2013 Sep 8.

DDT/DDE and breast cancer: a meta-analysis.

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Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.


The biological basis for investigating dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure and breast cancer risk stems from in vitro and animal studies indicating that DDT has estrogenic properties. The objective of this study was to update a meta-analysis from 2004 which found no association between dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) and breast cancer. We searched PubMed and Web of Science for studies published through June 2012 assessing DDT/DDE exposure and breast cancer. Summary Odds Ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated for the prevalence of breast cancer in the highest versus the lowest exposed groups for DDT and DDE. Difference of means of exposure for cases versus controls was analyzed for DDT and DDE. From the 500 studies screened, 46 were included in the meta-analysis. Slightly elevated, but not statistically significant summary ORs were found for DDE (1.05; 95% CI: 0.93-1.18) and DDT (1.02; 95% CI: 0.92-1.13). Lipid adjusted difference of means analysis found a significantly higher DDE concentration in cases versus controls (11.30 ng/g lipid; p=0.01). No other difference of means analysis found significant relationships. The existing information does not support the hypothesis that exposure to DDT/DDE increases the risk of breast cancer in humans.


Breast cancer; DDE; DDT; Meta-analysis; Systematic review

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