Occupation and bladder cancer among men in Western Europe

Cancer Causes Control. 2003 Dec;14(10):907-14. doi: 10.1023/b:caco.0000007962.19066.9c.


Objectives: We examined which occupations and industries are currently at high risk for bladder cancer in men.

Methods: We combined data from 11 case-control studies conducted between 1976-1996 in six European countries. The study comprised 3346 incident cases and 6840 controls, aged 30-79 years. Lifetime occupational and smoking histories were examined using common coding.

Results: Odds ratios for eight a priori defined high-risk occupations were low, and with the exception of metal workers and machinists (OR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.02-1.32), were not statistically significant. Higher risks were observed for specific categories of painters, metal, textile and electrical workers, for miners, transport operators, excavating-machine operators, and also for non-industrial workers such as concierges and janitors. Industries entailing a high risk included salt mining, manufacture of carpets, paints, plastics and industrial chemicals. An increased risk was found for exposure to PAHs (OR for highest exposure tertile = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.07-1.4). The risk attributable to occupation ranged from 4.2 to 7.4%, with an estimated 4.3% for exposure to PAHs.

Conclusions: Metal workers, machinists, transport equipment operators and miners are among the major occupations contributing to occupational bladder cancer in men in Western Europe. In this population one in 10 to one in 20 cancers of the bladder can be attributed to occupation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinogens / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupations
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance / methods
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology*


  • Carcinogens