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Welding and the risk of head and neck cancer: the ICARE study
  1. Christine Barul1,
  2. Mireille Matrat2,3,4,
  3. Aviane Auguste1,
  4. Julien Dugas1,
  5. Loredana Radoï2,5,
  6. Gwenn Menvielle6,
  7. Joëlle Févotte7,
  8. Anne-Valérie Guizard8,9,
  9. Isabelle Stücker2,
  10. Danièle Luce1
  11. ICARE study group
    1. 1 Univ Rennes, Inserm, EHESP, Irset (Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail) - UMR_S 1085, Pointe-à-Pitre, France
    2. 2 Université Paris-Saclay, Université Paris-Sud, UVSQ, CESP, INSERM U1018, Cancer and Environment team, Villejuif, France
    3. 3 Faculty of medicine, Paris Est Créteil University, Créteil, France
    4. 4 Intercommunal hospital center, Service des Pathologies Professionnelles et de l'Environnement, Créteil, France
    5. 5 Faculty of Dental Surgery, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France
    6. 6 Sorbonne Université, Inserm, Institut Pierre Louis d’Epidémiologie et Santé Publique IPLESP, Department of social epidemiology, Paris, France
    7. 7 Fonds d’Indemnisation des Victimes de l’Amiante, Bagnolet, France
    8. 8 Registre Général des Tumeurs du Calvados, Centre François Baclesse, Caen, France
    9. 9 ANTICIPE, Normandie Univ, Unicaen, INSERM, Centre François Baclesse, Caen, France
    1. Correspondence to Dr Danièle Luce, INSERM UMRS 1085 IRSET Faculté de Médecine Campus de Fouillole BP 145, F-97154 Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France; daniele.luce{at}


    Objective To investigate the association between occupational exposure to welding and the risk of head and neck cancer in a large French population-based case-control study, the Investigation of occupational and environmental CAuses of REspiratory cancers study.

    Methods Analyses were restricted to men (2703 controls and 1588 cases of squamous-cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx and larynx). Welding activity and potential confounders were assessed by detailed questionnaires. ORs and CIs (95% CI) were estimated by unconditional logistic regression, adjusted for age, area of residence, tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption and occupational exposure to asbestos.

    Results Welding was associated with an increased risk of head and neck cancer overall (OR=1.31, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.67). The association was strongest for laryngeal cancer (OR=1.66, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.38) and the risk increased with the cumulative duration (p-trend <0.01) and the weighted duration (p-trend <0.01) of welding. A cumulative duration and a weighted duration of welding of more than 10 years were also associated with a significantly increased risk of oral cancer (OR=1.82, 95% CI 1.09 to 3.04; OR=2.10, 95% CI 0.99 to 4.45, respectively). A long duration of arc welding was associated with laryngeal cancer, whereas a long duration of spot welding was associated with oral cancer. Welding was not associated with the risk of oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer.

    Conclusion Our findings suggest that welding and several welding-related tasks increase the risk of laryngeal cancer and to a lesser extent oral cancer.

    • head and neck
    • Epidemiology
    • occupational health
    • tumor
    • case-contol study

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    • Collaborators Members of ICARE Study Group: Anne-Valérie Guizard (Registre des cancers du Calvados, France); Arlette Danzon, Anne-Sophie Woronoff (Registre des cancers du Doubs, France); Michel Velten (Registre des cancers du Bas-Rhin, France); Antoine Buemi, Émilie Marrer (Registre des cancers du Haut-Rhin, France); Brigitte Trétarre (Registre des cancers de l’Hérault, France); Marc Colonna, Patricia Delafosse (Registre des cancers de l’Isère, France); Paolo Bercelli, Florence Molinié (Registre des cancers de Loire-Atlantique-Vendée, France); Simona Bara (Registre des cancers de la Manche, France); Bénédicte Lapotre-Ledoux, Nicole Raverdy (Registre des cancers de la Somme, France); Sylvie Cénée, Oumar Gaye, Florence Guida, Farida Lamkarkach, Loredana Radoï, Marie Sanchez, Isabelle Stücker (INSERM, Centre for research in Epidemiology and Population Health (CESP), U1018, Environmental Epidemiology of Cancer Team, Villejuif, France); Matthieu Carton, Diane Cyr, Annie Schmaus (INSERM Epidemiologic Cohorts Unit—UMS 011 INSERM-UVSQ, Villejuif, France); Joëlle Févotte (University Lyon 1, UMRESTTE, Lyon, France); Corinne Pilorget (French Public Health Agency, Department of Occupational Health, Saint Maurice, France); Gwenn Menvielle (Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, INSERM, IPLESP UMRS 1136, Paris, France); Danièle Luce (INSERM U 1085-IRSET, Pointe-à-Pitre, France).

    • Contributors CB and DL designed the current study, conducted the analyses and drafted the manuscript; MM, AA, JD, LR and GM contributed to the statistical analysis and interpretation of the results. JF was involved in exposure assessment. A-VG contributed to data collection and quality control. IS and DL are the principal investigators of the ICARE study, conceived this study and coordinated the original collection of the data.

    • Funding The ICARE study was funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR); French National Cancer Institute (INCA); French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES); French Institute for Public Health Surveillance (InVS); Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM); Fondation de France; Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (ARC); Ministry of Labour (Direction Générale du Travail); Ministry of Health (Direction Générale de la Santé).

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Patient consent for publication Not required.

    • Ethics approval The International review board of the French National Institute of health and Medical Research (IRB-INSERM, n° 01–036) and by the French Data Protection Authority (CNIL n° 90120).

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

    • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.