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Occupational exposure to organic solvents and lymphoid neoplasms in men: results of a French case-control study
  1. Laurent Orsi1,2,
  2. Alain Monnereau1,2,3,4,
  3. Brigitte Dananche5,6,7,
  4. Christian Berthou8,
  5. Pierre Fenaux9,10,
  6. Gerald Marit11,12,
  7. Pierre Soubeyran3,12,
  8. Françoise Huguet13,
  9. Noel Milpied11,12,
  10. Michel Leporrier14,
  11. Denis Hemon1,2,
  12. Xavier Troussard15,16,
  13. Jacqueline Clavel1,2
  1. 1INSERM, U1018, Department of Environmental Epidemiology of cancers, Villejuif, France
  2. 2Paris-Sud University, UMR-S1018, Department of Environmental Epidemiology of cancers, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, Villejuif, France
  3. 3Bergonié Institute, Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Bordeaux, France
  4. 4Haematological Malignancies Registry of Gironde, Bordeaux, France
  5. 5INRETS, department of Epidemiological Research and Surveillance in Transport Occupation and Environment, Lyon, France
  6. 6Lyon 1 Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France
  7. 7Occupational Health Department, French Institute for Public Health, Saint-Maurice, France
  8. 8Department of Haematology, Morvan Hospital, Brest, France
  9. 9Department of Haematology, Avicenne Hospital, Bobigny, France
  10. 10Paris 13 University, Bobigny, France
  11. 11Department of Haematology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, CHU Bordeaux, Pessac, France
  12. 12Bordeaux 2 University, France
  13. 13Department of Haematology, Purpan Hospital, Toulouse, France
  14. 14Department of Clinical Haematology, Clemenceau Hospital, CHU Caen, France
  15. 15Department of Haematology, Côte de Nacre Hospital, Caen, France
  16. 16Haematological Malignancies Registry of Basse Normandie, Caen, France
  1. Correspondence to Laurent Orsi, Inserm U1018, Centre for Research in Epidemiology and Population Health, 16 av. Paul Vaillant-Couturier, F-94807 Villejuif Cedex, France; laurent.orsi{at}


Objectives Investigating the role of occupational exposure to solvents in the occurrence of lymphoid neoplasms (LNs) in men.

Methods The data were generated by a French hospital-based case-control study, conducted in six centres in 2000–2004. The cases were incident cases aged 18–75 years with a diagnosis of LN. During the same period, controls of the same age and gender as the cases were recruited in the same hospitals, mainly in the orthopaedic and rheumatological departments. Exposure to solvents was assessed using standardised occupational questionnaires and case-by-case expert assessment. Specific quantification of benzene exposure was attempted. The analyses included 491 male patients (244 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), 87 of Hodgkin's lymphoma, 104 of lymphoproliferative syndrome and 56 of multiple myeloma) and 456 male controls. Unconditional logistic regressions were used to estimate OR and 95% CI.

Results Solvent exposure, all solvents considered together, was marginally associated with NHL (OR=1.4 (1.0 to 2.0) p=0.06), but not with other LNs. No association with the main chemical series of solvents was observed. There was no trend with the average intensity or frequency of exposure. Exposure to pure benzene was not significantly related to NHL (OR=3.4 (0.8 to 15.0)). The highest maximum intensities of benzene exposure were associated with diffuse large cell lymphoma (OR=2.1 (1.0 to 4.6)).

Conclusion The results of the present study provide estimates compatible with the hypothesis that exposures to pure benzene and high benzene intensities may play a role in some NHL. There was no evidence for a role of other organic solvents in the occurrence of LN.

  • Solvents
  • benzene
  • occupation
  • lymphoma
  • aetiology
  • epidemiology
  • cancer
  • retrospective exposure assessment

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  • Funding This work was supported by grants from the Association pour la Recherche contre le Cancer, the Fondation de France, AFSSET, and a donation from Faberge employees.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the DGS (No. 2000/0107).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.