Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
A case-control study of paternal occupational exposures and the risk of childhood sporadic bilateral retinoblastoma
  1. Amir Abdolahi1,
  2. Edwin van Wijngaarden1,
  3. Michael D McClean2,
  4. Robert F Herrick3,
  5. Joe G Allen3,4,
  6. Arupa Ganguly5,
  7. Greta R Bunin6
  1. 1Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York, USA
  2. 2Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3Department of Environmental Health, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc., Needham, Massachusetts, USA
  5. 5Department of Genetics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  6. 6Division of Oncology and Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Edwin van Wijngaarden, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, University of Rochester, 265 Crittenden Blvd, CU 420644, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; Edwin_van_Wijngaarden{at}


Background The risk factors for sporadic (ie, non-familial) retinoblastoma remain largely unknown.

Objectives We examined the relationship between paternal occupational exposures from jobs held 10 years and 1 year prior to conception and the risk of sporadic bilateral retinoblastoma in children.

Methods Paternal occupational data were obtained for 198 incident cases diagnosed with sporadic bilateral retinoblastoma from January 1998 to May 2006 and 245 referral-based controls from the case child's relatives and friends who were matched to 135 of the cases on birth year. Industrial hygienists independently assigned exposure scores for nine agents. Adjusted ORs and 95% CIs were computed using logistic regression models, using the full sample of cases and controls as well as subset of cases with matched controls only.

Results There was some indication of an elevated risk associated with paternal pesticide exposure in the 10 years prior to conception (OR=1.64; 95% CI 1.08 to 2.50) as well as in the year before conception (OR=2.12; 95% CI 1.25 to 3.61). However, results for pesticide exposure were inconsistent and varied by analysis approach. An increased risk was also observed for non-welding metal exposure during the 10 years prior to conception in the full (OR=1.35; 95% CI 0.86 to 2.12) and matched (OR=1.40; 95% CI 0.82 to 2.37) samples, but not in the year before conception. Exposure–response trends were observed for pesticides and non-welding metal exposures.

Conclusions Our findings suggest a potential role of paternal occupational exposures to non-welding metals and perhaps pesticides in the aetiology of childhood retinoblastoma.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.