Occupation and the risk of adult glioma in the United States

Cancer Causes Control. 2003 Mar;14(2):139-50. doi: 10.1023/a:1023053916689.


Objective: Previous studies have observed increased glioma incidence associated with employment in the petroleum and electrical industries, and in farming. Several other occupations have also been associated with increased risk, but with inconsistent results. We evaluated associations between occupational title and glioma incidence in adults.

Methods: Cases were 489 patients with glioma diagnosed from 1994 to 1998 at three United States hospitals. Controls were 799 patients admitted to the same hospitals for non-malignant conditions. An experienced industrial hygienist grouped occupations that were expected to have similar tasks and exposures. The risk of adult glioma was evaluated for those subjects who ever worked in an occupational group for at least six months, those who worked longer than five years in the occupation, and those with more than ten years latency since starting work in the occupation.

Results: Several occupational groups were associated with increased glioma incidence for having ever worked in the occupation, including butchers and meat cutters (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence limits [CL]: 1.0, 6.0), computer programmers and analysts (OR = 2.0; 95% CL: 1.0, 3.8), electricians (OR = 1.8; 95% CL: 0.8, 4.1), general farmers and farmworkers (OR = 2.5; 95% CL: 1.4, 4.7), inspectors, checkers, examiners, graders, and testers (OR = 1.5; 95% CL: 0.8, 2.7), investigators, examiners, adjustors, and appraisers (OR = 1.7; 95% CL: 0.8, 3.7), physicians and physician assistants (OR = 2.4; 95% CL: 0.8, 7.2), and store managers (OR = 1.6; 95% CL: 0.8, 3.1), whereas occupation as a childcare worker was associated with decreased glioma incidence (OR = 0.4; 95% CL: 0.2, 0.9). These associations generally persisted when the subjects worked longer than five years in the occupation, and for those with more than ten years latency since starting to work in the occupation.

Conclusions: This is our first analysis of occupation and will guide future exposure-specific assessments.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Female
  • Food Industry
  • Glioma / epidemiology
  • Glioma / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupations*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology