Objectives To investigate the risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in Central and Eastern Europe in relation to exposure to known and suspected carcinogenic metals.
Methods During 1999–2003, the authors conducted a hospital-based study in Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Russia, including 1097 cases of RCC and 1476 controls. Occupational exposure to arsenic, cadmium, chromium(III), chromium(VI), lead and nickel was assessed by teams of local industrial hygiene experts, based on detailed occupational questionnaires.
Results The ORs for RCC were 1.55 (95% CI 1.09 to 2.21) for exposure to lead and 1.40 (95% CI 0.69 to 2.85) for exposure to cadmium. No clear monotonic exposure–response relation was apparent for either duration of exposure or cumulative exposure to either metal, although the OR for the highest category of cumulative exposure to lead was 2.25 (95% CI 1.21 to 4.19). Exposure to other metals did not entail an increased risk of RCC.
Conclusions For cadmium, the lack of statistical significance of most results, potential confounding and the absence of clear dose–response relations suggest that an association with RCC is unlikely to be causal. In the case of lead, however, the elevated risk in the category of highest cumulative exposure is noteworthy and justifies further investigation.
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Funding This study was supported by a grant from the European Commission's INCO-COPERNICUS Program (contract IC15-CT98-0332) and by the Intramural Research Program of the US National Cancer Institute.
Competing interests None.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the IARC and national collaborating centres.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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