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Original research
Role of occupational exposures in lung cancer risk among women
  1. Mengting Xu1,2,
  2. Vikki Ho1,2,
  3. Jack Siemiatycki1,2
  1. 1 Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  2. 2 Carrefour de l’innovation, Université de Montréal Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jack Siemiatycki, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada; j.siemiatycki{at}


Objectives To explore possible associations between selected occupational agents and lung cancer risk among women.

Methods A population-based case–control study on lung cancer was conducted from 1996 to 2001 in Montreal, Canada. Cases were individuals diagnosed with incident lung cancer and population controls were randomly selected from electoral lists and frequency-matched to age and sex distributions of cases. Questionnaires on lifetime occupational history, smoking and demographic characteristics were collected during in-person interviews. As part of a comprehensive exposure assessment protocol, experts reviewed each subject’s work history and assessed exposure to many agents. The current analysis, restricted to working women in the study, includes 361 cases and 521 controls. We examined the association between lung cancer and each of 22 occupational exposures, chosen because of their relatively high prevalences among these women. Each exposure was analysed in a separate multivariate logistic regression model, adjusted for smoking and other selected covariates.

Results There were few elevated OR estimates between lung cancer and any of the agents, and none were statistically significant, although the limited numbers of exposed women engendered wide CIs.

Conclusions There was little evidence to suggest that women in this population had experienced excess risks of lung cancer as a result of their work exposures. However, the wide CIs preclude any strong inferences in this regard.

  • women
  • exposure assessment
  • cancer
  • epidemiology
  • retrospective exposure assessment

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  • Contributors JS designed the original Montreal case–control study of lung cancer from which the data were derived. MX, JS and VH designed the analytical strategy and interpreted the results of the analysis for this paper. MX drafted the manuscript under supervision of JS and VH.

  • Funding Funding for the original data collection was provided by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (Grant No: MOP-14704). JS's research team was supported in part by the Canada Research Chairs programme and the Guzzo-SRC Chair in Environment and Cancer. VH holds a Sex and Gender Science Chair in Cancer Research from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. She is currently supported by the Cancer Research Society, Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec and Ministere de l'Economie, de la Science et de l'Innovation du Quebec. MX is currently supported by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec and Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Institutional review board (IRB) approval has been granted by McGill University (IRB study number A12-E06-99A).

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

  • Data availability statement Data are available on reasonable request. Please email the corresponding author to request the relevant data.