Occupation and larynx and hypopharynx cancer: an international case-control study in France, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland

Cancer Causes Control. 2003 Apr;14(3):203-12. doi: 10.1023/a:1023699717598.


Objective: To estimate risks for laryngeal/hypopharyngeal cancer associated with occupational titles and industrial activities.

Methods: A multicentre population-based case-control study was conducted in the early 1980s in six southern European areas. Analyses included 1010 male cases and 2176 controls. Odds ratios (ORs) (adjusted for age, study area, tobacco consumption, and alcohol consumption) were estimated for 156 occupations and 70 industrial activities.

Results: An excess risk has been confirmed for categories of construction workers, potters (OR: 5.91, 95% confidence intervals 1.46-24.0), butchers (2.53, 1.22-5.22), barbers (2.33, 1.00-5.40), laborers not otherwise specified (1.52, 1.12-2.06), as well as for men who had been employed in railway transport (1.52, 0.97-2.39), shipbuilding (2.05, 0.89-4.94), and hotels (2.06, 0.89-4.75). An association was also found for shoe finishers (3.23, 0.75-13.9), loggers (2.07, 0.87-4.90), and some groups of metal workers. ORs for loggers, butchers, railway transport workers, laborers, and reinforced concreters increased with duration of employment. The suggestion of a risk for machine operators among woodworkers (3.10, 0.92-10.5) conflicts with previous findings. No significant excess of risk was found for categories previously reported to be associated with laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer, such as drivers, mechanics, welders, machinists, and painters.

Conclusions: The present study provides additional evidence to the hypothesis of a risk of cancer of the larynx/ hypopharynx for workers engaged in jobs in the construction, metal, textile, ceramic, and food industries and in railway transport. Loggers were also found at risk; a previously unreported finding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Ceramics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Female
  • Food Industry
  • Humans
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Metallurgy
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Textile Industry