University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006
Occupational determinants of pancreatic cancer
Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
Objective and background. Tobacco smoking, pancreatitis and diabetes mellitus are the only known causes of pancreatic cancer, leaving ample room for yet unidentified determinants. This is an empirical study on a Finnish data on occupational exposures and pancreatic cancer risk, and a non-Bayesian and a hierarchical Bayesian meta-analysis of data on occupational factors and pancreatic cancer.
Methods. The case-control study analyzed 595 incident cases of pancreatic cancer and 1,622 controls of stomach, colon, and rectum cancer, diagnosed 1984-1987 and known to be dead by 1990 in Finland. The next-of-kin responded to a mail questionnaire on job and medical histories and lifestyles.
Meta-analysis of occupational risk factors of pancreatic cancer started off with 1,903 identified studies. The analyses were based on different subsets of that database. Five epidemiologists examined the reports and extracted the pertinent data using a standardized extraction form that covered 20 study descriptors and the relevant relative risk estimates. Random effects meta-analyses were applied for 23 chemical agents. In addition, hierarchical Bayesian models for meta-analysis were applied to the occupational data of 27 job titles using job exposure matrix as a link matrix and estimating the relative risks of pancreatic cancer associated with nine occupational agents.
Results. In the case-control study, logistic regressions revealed excess risks of pancreatic cancer associated with occupational exposures to ionizing radiation, nonchlorinated solvents, and pesticides. Chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents and related compounds, used mainly in metal degreasing and dry cleaning, are emerging as likely risk factors of pancreatic cancer in the non-Bayesian and the hierarchical Bayesian meta-analysis. Consistent excess risk was found for insecticides, and a high excess for nickel and nickel compounds in the random effects meta-analysis but not in the hierarchical Bayesian meta-analysis.
Conclusions. In this study occupational exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents and related compounds and insecticides increase risk of pancreatic cancer. Hierarchical Bayesian meta-analysis is applicable when studies addressing the agent(s) under study are lacking or very few, but several studies address job titles with potential exposure to these agents. A job-exposure matrix or a formal expert assessment system is necessary in this situation.
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© University of Helsinki 2006
Last updated 20.11.2006