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Occupational exposures and risk of acoustic neuroma


Objectives Acoustic neuroma is a benign tumour accounting for approximately 6–10% of all intracranial tumours and occurs mainly in patients aged ≥50 years. Our aim was to investigate a wide range of occupational exposures, individual occupational titles and socioeconomic status (SES) as potential risk factors for acoustic neuroma.

Methods We conducted a population-based case–control study of 793 acoustic neuroma cases identified through the Swedish Cancer Registry and 101 762 randomly selected controls. Information on SES and occupation was obtained from censuses and linked to job-exposure matrices. Logistic regression was used to estimate ORs and calculate 95% CIs.

Results An increased OR was seen for mercury exposure <10 years before the reference year (OR 2.9; 95% CI 1.2 to 6.8), and a more modest association for benzene exposure (OR 1.8; 95% CI: 1.0 to 3.2) ≥10 years before the reference year. We observed a threefold increased risk for females working as tailors and dressmakers ≥10 years before the reference year, and a more than threefold significantly elevated OR for those working as truck and conveyor operators <10 years before the reference year. We found no convincing evidence that SES is related to disease development.

Conclusion We observed an increased risk of acoustic neuroma associated with occupational exposure to mercury, benzene and textile dust. Men working as truck and conveyor operators <10 years before the reference year had the highest increased risk of acoustic neuroma, but it is unclear what in those occupations might contribute to disease development. Our study also suggested an association between acoustic neuroma and being a class teacher or policeman. However, these findings should be further investigated to exclude the possibility of detection bias.

  • Occupations
  • case-control study
  • ear neoplasm
  • vestibular schwannoma
  • epidemiology
  • exposure assessment
  • risk assessment
  • environment

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