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Occup Environ Med. 2019 Jul 13. pii: oemed-2018-105655. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2018-105655. [Epub ahead of print]

Animal farming and the risk of lymphohaematopoietic cancers: a meta-analysis of three cohort studies within the AGRICOH consortium.

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School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Section of Environment and Radiation, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France.
Departmentof Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA.
ANTICIPE, U1086 INSERM, Université de Caen Normandie, and Centre deLutte Contre le Cancer François Baclesse, Caen, France.
CHU de Bordeaux, Service de Médecine du Travail et PathologieProfessionnelle, Bordeaux, France.
Department of Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology, National Institute of Occupational Health (STAMI), Oslo, Norway.
Department of Research, Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway.
Hematological Malignancies Registry of Gironde, Bergonie Institute, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Bordeaux, France.
University of Bordeaux, INSERM U1219 Center - EPICENE Team, CHU de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Animal farming entails a variety of potential exposures, including infectious agents, endotoxins and pesticides, which may play a role in the aetiology of lymphohaematopoietic cancers (LHCs). The aim of this study was to assess whether farming specific animal species is associated with the risk of overall LHC or its subtypes. Data from three prospective cohort studies in the USA, France and Norway which are part of the Agricultural Cohort consortium and which collected information about animal farming and cancer were used. Analyses included 316 270 farmers and farm workers. Adjusted Cox models were used to investigate the associations of 13 histological subtypes of LHC (n=3282) with self-reported livestock (cattle, pigs and sheep/goats) and poultry (ever/never and numbers raised) farming. Cohort-specific HRs were combined using random-effects meta-analysis. Ever animal farming in general or farming specific animal species was not meta-associated with overall LHC. The risk of myeloid malignancies decreased with increasing number of livestock (p trend=0.01). Increased risk of myeloproliferative neoplasms was seen with increasing number of sheep/goats (p trend <0.01), while a decreased risk was seen with increasing number of livestock (p trend=0.02). Between cohorts, we observed heterogeneity in the association of type of animal farmed and various LHC subtypes. This large-scale study of three prospective agricultural cohorts showed no association between animal farming and LHC risk, but few associations between specific animal species and LHC subtypes were observed. The observed differences in associations by countries warrant further investigations.


agriculture; animal workers; cancer; epidemiology


Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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