Case-series investigation of intracranial neoplasms at a petrochemical research facility

Am J Ind Med. 1999 Oct;36(4):450-8. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199910)36:4<450::aid-ajim6>;2-7.


Background: From 1970 through 1997, 17 intracranial neoplasms were identified among 6,800 employees of a petrochemical research facility. This investigation describes the case-series.

Methods: The intracranial neoplasms were identified by self reports and record linkages, and were confirmed by medical records and a pathology review. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) compare observed and expected numbers of cases according to certain work characteristics.

Results: Overall, there were 17 observed and 10.5 expected intracranial neoplasms, including 11/4.7 benign intracranial tumors and 6/5.9 brain cancers. All brain cancers occurred among male research scientists or technicians. Four had worked at some time on the same floor of one building (SIR=12.6, 95% CI=3.4-32.1), and several had worked on a research project with at least one other brain cancer case. The benign intracranial neoplasm cases did not have common building assignments or work activities.

Conclusions: The occurrence pattern of brain cancers, but not that of benign tumors, suggests a possible occupational etiology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Chemical Industry*
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Meningioma / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurilemmoma / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Petroleum* / adverse effects
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Research
  • Sex Factors
  • Vestibular Nerve


  • Petroleum