Rectal cancer and occupational risk factors: a hypothesis-generating, exposure-based case-control study

Int J Cancer. 2000 Sep 15;87(6):874-9. doi: 10.1002/1097-0215(20000915)87:6<874::aid-ijc18>;2-l.


In 1979, a hypothesis-generating, population-based case-control study was undertaken in Montreal, Canada, to explore the association between occupational exposure to 294 substances, 130 occupations and industries, and various cancers. Interviews were carried out with 3, 630 histologically confirmed cancer cases, of whom 257 had rectal cancer, and with 533 population controls, to obtain detailed job history and data on potential confounders. The job history of each subject was evaluated by a team of chemists and hygienists and translated into occupational exposures. Logistic regression analyses adjusted for age, education, cigarette smoking, beer consumption, body mass index, and respondent status were performed using population controls and cancer controls, e.g., 1,295 subjects with cancers at sites other than the rectum, lung, colon, rectosigmoid junction, small intestine, and peritoneum. We present here the results based on cancer controls. The following substances showed some association with rectal cancer: rubber dust, rubber pyrolysis products, cotton dust, wool fibers, rayon fibers, a group of solvents (carbon tetrachloride, methylene chloride, trichloroethylene, acetone, aliphatic ketones, aliphatic esters, toluene, styrene), polychloroprene, glass fibers, formaldehyde, extenders, and ionizing radiation. The independent effect of many of these substances could not be disentangled as many were highly correlated with each other.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupations
  • Odds Ratio
  • Quebec
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Regression Analysis


  • Dust