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Am J Epidemiol. 1986 Feb;123(2):235-49.

Associations between several sites of cancer and nine organic dusts: results from an hypothesis-generating case-control study in Montreal, 1979-1983.


A multi-cancer site, multi-factor case-control study was undertaken to generate hypotheses about possible occupational carcinogens. Probing interviews were carried out with over 2,000 subjects. All incident cases of 19 sites of cancer in males aged 35-70 and resident in Montreal were eligible. The interview was designed to obtain detailed lifetime job histories, and information on potential confounders. Each job history was reviewed by a team of chemists who translated it into a history of occupational exposures. These occupational exposures were then analyzed as potential risk factors in relation to the sites of cancer included. For each site of cancer analyzed as a case series, controls were selected from among the other cancer sites in the study. This report concerns the associations between sites of cancer for which there were over 100 cases processed (stomach; colorectal, also analyzed by subsites; lung; prostate; bladder; kidney; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) and nine organic dusts (wood; paper; grain; flour; fabrics; cotton; wool; synthetics; fur). All site-exposure combinations were investigated. The ones that provided the most interesting leads were lung-wood dust (odds ratio (OR) = 1.5), stomach-wood dust (OR = 1.5), colorectal-synthetic fiber (OR = 1.5), bladder-synthetic fiber (OR = 1.8), non-Hodgkin's lymphoma-cotton dust (OR = 1.9), colon-grain dust (OR = 2.6), prostate-grain dust (OR = 2.2), and prostate-paper dust (OR = 2.0). Only the associations with wood dust, synthetic fibers and cotton dust showed some evidence of "dose-response" with duration of exposure. Because it is such a common exposure and appears to increase lung and stomach cancer risks, wood dust may be responsible for a great deal of occupational cancer.

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