Occupational and environmental medicine

Occupational trichloroethylene exposure and risk of lymphatic and haematopoietic cancers: a meta-analysis.

PMID 23723297


The carcinogenic potential of trichloroethylene (TCE) continues to generate much controversy, even after the US Environmental Protection Agency raised its classification to 'carcinogenic to humans'. We conducted a meta-analysis of published cohort and case-control studies exploring occupational TCE exposure in relation to five different lymphatic and haematopoietic cancers: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL, N=24), Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL, N=13), multiple myeloma (MM, N=11), leukaemia (N=12) and chronic/small lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL/SLL, N=7).  Studies published between 1950 and 2011 were identified through a PubMed Medline search. All studies included in analyses were classified as those that assessed either occupational TCE exposure specifically ('TCE-exposure' studies) or a broader classification of all chlorinated solvents ('chlorinated solvent-exposure' studies).  A significantly raised summary estimate for NHL was seen for all cohort and case-control 'TCE-exposure' studies combined (N=19; relative risk (RR)=1.32, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.54; I(2)=25.20; p-heterogeneity=0.12) and for cohort 'TCE-exposure' studies (N=10; RR=1.52, 95% CI 1.29 to 1.79; I(2)=7.09; p-heterogeneity=0.63). A non-significant but raised summary estimate was seen for NHL case-control 'TCE-exposure' studies. No significant association with NHL risk was detected overall for any 'chlorinated solvent-exposure' studies. Summary estimates for occupational TCE exposure were not associated with risk of HL, MM, leukaemia or CLL/SLL.  Our updated meta-analysis of NHL, which incorporates new analytical results from three cohort and four case-control studies, supports an association between occupational TCE exposure and NHL.

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