Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Original article
Occupational exposure to trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene and the risk of lymphoma, liver, and kidney cancer in four Nordic countries
  1. Jelle Vlaanderen1,
  2. Kurt Straif2,
  3. Eero Pukkala3,4,
  4. Timo Kauppinen5,
  5. Pentti Kyyrönen4,
  6. Jan Ivar Martinsen6,
  7. Kristina Kjaerheim6,
  8. Laufey Tryggvadottir7,8,
  9. Johnni Hansen9,
  10. Pär Sparén10,
  11. Elisabete Weiderpass6,10,11,12
  1. 1Section of Environment and Radiation, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
  2. 2Section of International Agency for Research on Cancer Monographs, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
  3. 3School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
  4. 4Finnish Cancer Registry, Institute for Statistical and Epidemiological Cancer Research, Helsinki, Finland
  5. 5Department of Occupational Health, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland
  6. 6Department of Aetiological Research, Institute of Population-based Cancer Research, Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway
  7. 7Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
  8. 8Icelandic Cancer Registry, Reykjavik, Iceland
  9. 9Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. 10Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  11. 11Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
  12. 12Folkhälsan Research Centre, Samfundet Folkhälsan, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kurt Straif, Section of IARC Monographs, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France; straif{at}


Objectives Trichloroethylene (TCE) and Perchloroethylene (PER) are two chlorinated solvents that are applied widely as degreasers of metal parts, and in dry cleaning and other applications. In 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified TCE as carcinogenic to humans and PER as probably carcinogenic to humans. We explored exposure–response relations for TCE and PER and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), multiple myeloma (MM), and cancers of the kidney and liver in the Nordic Occupational Cancer cohort.

Methods The cohort was set up by linking occupational information from censuses to national cancer registry data using personal identity codes in use in all Nordic countries. Country, time period, and job-specific exposure estimates were generated for TCE, PER and potentially confounding occupational exposures with a job-exposure matrix. A conditional logistic regression was conducted for exposure groups as well as for continuous cumulative exposure.

Results HRs for liver cancer, NHL and MM but not kidney cancer were slightly elevated in groups with high exposure to PER (compared to occupationally unexposed subjects). HRs for liver cancer and NHL also increased with increasing continuous exposure to PER. We did not observe evidence for an association between exposure to TCE and NHL, MM or liver and kidney cancer.

Conclusions Although this study was subject to limitations related to the low prevalence of exposure to PER and TCE in the Nordic population and a limited exposure assessment strategy, we observed some evidence indicative of an excess risk of cancer of the liver and NHL in subjects exposed to PER.

  • Chlorinated solvents
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma

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.