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Occupational risk factors for male bladder cancer: results from a population based case cohort study in the Netherlands


OBJECTIVES This study was conducted to estimate risk of bladder cancer associated with occupational exposures to paint components, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), diesel exhausts, and aromatic amines among the general population in The Netherlands.

METHODS A prospective cohort study was conducted among 58 279 men. In September 1986, the cohort members (55–69 years) completed a self administered questionnaire on risk factors for cancer including job history. Follow up for incident bladder cancer was established by linkage to cancer registries until December 1992. A case-cohort approach was used based on 532 cases and 1630 subcohort members. A case by case expert assessment was carried out to assign to the cases and subcohort members a cumulative probability of occupational exposure for each carcinogenic exposure.

RESULTS Men in the highest tertiles of occupational exposure to paint components, PAHs, aromatic amines, and diesel exhaust had non-significantly higher age and smoking adjusted incident rate ratios (RRs) of bladder cancer than men with no exposure: 1.29 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.71 to 2.33), 1.24 (95% CI 0.68 to 2.27), 1.32 (95% CI 0.41 to 4.23) and 1.21 (95% CI 0.78 to 1.88), respectively. The associations between paint components and PAHs and risk of bladder cancer were most pronounced for current smokers. Among former smokers it seemed that for cumulative probability of exposure to paint components and PAHs, men who had smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day had RRs below unity compared with men who had smoked less than 15 cigarettes a day, whereas among current smokers the opposite was found. Exposure to diesel exhaust was positively associated with risk of bladder cancer among current and former smokers who had smoked more than 15 cigarettes a day.

CONCLUSIONS This study provided only marginal evidence for an association between occupational exposure to paint components, PAHs, aromatic amines, and bladder cancer. Despite the small proportion of exposed subjects, an interaction with cigarette smoking was found, specifically for paint components, suggesting that the carcinogenic effect on the bladder might decrease after stopping smoking.

  • bladder cancer
  • occupation
  • epidemiology

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