The Prostate

Prostate cancer risk and exposure to pesticides in British Columbia farmers.

PMID 20799287


Several epidemiologic studies have reported an increased risk of prostate cancer among farmers. Our aim was to assess the risk of developing prostate cancer in relation to exposure to specific active compounds in pesticides. A case-control approach was used with 1,516 prostate cancer patients and 4,994 age-matched internal controls consisting of all other cancer sites excluding lung cancer and cancers of unknown primary site. Lifetime occupational history was obtained through a self-administered questionnaire and used in conjunction with a job exposure matrix to estimate the participants' lifetime cumulative exposure to approximately 180 active compounds in pesticides. Conditional logistic regression was used to assess prostate cancer risk, adjusting for potential confounding variables and effect modifiers. These include age, ethnicity, alcohol consumption, smoking, education, and proxy respondent. The significant association between prostate cancer risk and exposure to DDT (OR = 1.68; 95% CI: 1.04-2.70 for high exposure), simazine (OR = 1.89; 95% CI: 1.08-3.33 for high exposure), and lindane (OR = 2.02; 95% CI: 1.15-3.55 for high exposure) is in keeping with those previously reported in the literature. We also observed a significant excess risk for several active ingredients that have not been previously reported in the literature such as dichlone, dinoseb amine, malathion, endosulfan, 2,4-D, 2,4-DB, and carbaryl. Some findings in our study were not consistent with those reported in the literature, including captan, dicamba, and diazinon. It is possible that these findings showed a real association and the inconsistencies reflected differences of characteristics between study populations.