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Occup Environ Med. 2018 Jan;75(1):12-22. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2016-104280. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

The INTEROCC case-control study: risk of meningioma and occupational exposure to selected combustion products, dusts and other chemical agents.

Author information

Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh, UK.
Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, Centre for Epidemiology, Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care, School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Biology and Health, University of Manchester, UK.
Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Barcelona, Spain.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona, Spain.
CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain.
McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
Unité Mixte de Recherche Epidémiologique Transport Travail Environnement Université Lyon 1/IFSTTAR, Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.
College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.
Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.
INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec, Laval, Canada.
University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, Canada.
Unit of Environmental Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.
The Cancer & Radiation Epidemiology Unit, The Gertner Institute, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Section of Environment and Radiation, Lyon, France.



Little is known about occupational risk factors for meningioma.


To study whether risk of meningioma is associated with several occupational exposures, including selected combustion products, dusts and other chemical agents.


The INTEROCC study was an international case-control study of brain cancer conducted in seven countries. Data collection by interview included lifetime occupational histories. A job exposure matrix was used to derive estimates of exposure for the 12 agents. ORs for ever versus never exposed and for exposure-response using duration of exposure and cumulative exposure were derived using conditional logistic regression stratified by sex, age group, country/region, adjusted for education.


These analyses included 1906 cases and 5565 controls. For 11 of the 12 agents, no excess risk was found for ever exposed. For ever exposure to oil mists, an elevated OR of 1.57 (95% CI 1.10 to 2.22, 51 exposed cases) was found. Statistically significant exposure-response relationships were observed with cumulative exposure (p=0.01) and duration of exposure (p=0.04). Among women, there were also significant trends for cumulative and duration of exposure to asbestos and excesses in the highest exposure categories for formaldehyde.


Most agents examined did not provoke excess risks of meningioma. The main finding from this study is that it is the first study to identify a statistical association between exposure to oil mists and meningioma. This may be a chance finding or could be due to confounding with iron exposure and further research is required to understand whether the relationship is causal.


combustion products; dusts; meningioma; occupational exposure

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: MCT reports personal fees from ICF, outside this work. DK reports to serving as Chief Risk Scientist and CEO at Risk Sciences International (, a Canadian company established in 2006 in partnership with the University of Ottawa conducting work in risk assessment, management and communication of health and environmental risks and their broader impacts on both public and private interests. He also holds an Industrial Research Chair in Risk Science under a peer-reviewed university-industry partnership programme administered by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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