Increased concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, hexachlorobenzene, and chlordanes in mothers of men with testicular cancer

Environ Health Perspect. 2003 Jun;111(7):930-4. doi: 10.1289/ehp.5816.


An increasing incidence of testicular cancer has been reported from several countries in the Western world during the last decades. According to current hypothesis, testicular cancer is initiated during the fetal period, and exposure to endocrine disruptors, i.e., xenoestrogens, has been of concern. In this investigation we studied the concentrations of the sum of 38 polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyl-dichloroethylene, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and chlordanes, in 61 cases with testicular cancer and 58 age-matched controls. Furthermore, case and control mothers were also asked to participate, and 44 case mothers and 45 control mothers agreed. They were of similar age. In cases only the concentration on lipid basis of cis-nonachlordane was significantly increased, whereas case mothers showed significantly increased concentrations of the sum of PCBs, HCB, trans- and cis-nonachlordane, and the sum of chlordanes. Among case mothers the sum of PCBs yielded an odds ratio (OR) of 3.8; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4-10 was calculated using the median concentration for the control mothers as cutoff value. For HCB, OR = 4.4 (95% CI, 1.7-12); for trans-nonachlordane, OR = 4.1 (95% CI, 1.5-11); for cis-nonachlordane, OR = 3.1 (95% CI, 1.2-7.8); and for sum of chlordanes, OR = 1.9 (95% CI, 0.7-5.0). No consistent different risk pattern was found for seminoma or nonseminoma testicular cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chlordan / analysis*
  • Chlordan / poisoning
  • Female
  • Hexachlorobenzene / analysis*
  • Hexachlorobenzene / poisoning
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / poisoning
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Testicular Neoplasms / chemically induced*


  • Chlordan
  • Hexachlorobenzene
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls