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Leuk Lymphoma. 1994 Jun;14(1-2):91-102.

Hematopoietic malignancies and related disorders among benzene-exposed workers in China.

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Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Although the relationship between benzene and acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL) is well established, most of the analytic cohort investigations examining the relationship between benzene and hematologic neoplasms have evaluated only death certificates to validate diagnoses. In a follow-up study of 74,828 benzene-exposed and 35,805 non-exposed workers in China, pathology reports, medical records, and/or histopathologic material were reviewed for all patients with hematopoietic malignancies to ensure correct classification and to provide clinicopathologic descriptions. Eighty-two patients with hematopoietic neoplasms and related disorders were identified among benzene-exposed workers, including 32 cases of acute leukemia, 7--myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), 9--chronic granulocytic leukemia (CGL), 20--malignant lymphoma or related disorder (ML), 9--aplastic anemia, and 5 others. Among the comparison group, 13 hematologic malignancies were observed, including 6 patients with acute leukemia, 2--CGL, 3--ML, and 2 others. The hematopathologic characteristics of the benzene-exposed ANLL cases resembled those following chemotherapy or radiotherapy. ANLL in workers exposed to benzene may represent a distinct clinicopathologic entity, with characteristics similar to treatment-related ANLL, including a preceding preleukemic phase in some patients. Results in our series, one of the largest to data, also indicate that a greater diversity of hematologic neoplasms is evident among benzene-exposed workers than previously described.

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