Occupational exposure to pesticides and pancreatic cancer

Am J Ind Med. 2001 Jan;39(1):92-9. doi: 10.1002/1097-0274(200101)39:1<92::aid-ajim9>3.0.co;2-p.


Background: An increased risk of exposure to pesticides for pancreatic cancer has been suggested in a number of epidemiologic studies.

Methods: Cases (N = 484), aged 30-79 years, were diagnosed in 1986-1989. Controls (N = 2,095) were a random sample of the general population. Information on usual occupation and potential confounding factors was obtained. A job-exposure matrix (JEM) approach was used to estimate the level of occupational exposure to pesticides.

Results: A significant trend in risk with increasing exposure level of pesticides was observed, with ORs of 1.3 and 1.4 for low and moderate/high exposure levels, respectively. Excess risks were found for occupational exposure to fungicides (OR = 1.5) and herbicides (OR = 1.6) in the moderate/high level after adjustment for potential confounding factors. An increased risk for insecticide exposure was disappeared after adjustment for fungicide and herbicide exposures. Results of our occupation-based analysis were consistent with those from the JEM-based analysis.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that pesticides may increase risk of pancreatic cancer, and indicate the need for investigations that can evaluate risk by specific chemical exposures. Published 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blacks
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Female
  • Fungicides, Industrial / adverse effects
  • Herbicides / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / adverse effects
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk Factors
  • Whites


  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Pesticides