Several industry-based cohort studies have addressed the risk of lung cancer following exposure to vinyl chloride, acrylonitrile and styrene, with inconsistent results and usually without smoking adjustment. These exposures are addressed here in a large case-control study with full adjustment for smoking. Almost 6000 subjects were included in a case-control study conducted in seven European countries. For each job they held, local experts assessed the exposure to a number of occupational agents, including vinyl chloride, acrylonitrile and styrene, on the basis of detailed occupational questionnaires. Information on tobacco consumption and other risk factors was also collected. The odds ratio (OR) for ever exposure to vinyl chloride was 1.05 (95% confidence interval, CI: 0.68-1.62) and a modest, non-significant increase in the risk of lung cancer was found in the highest exposed subgroup. The OR for ever exposure to acrylonitrile was 2.20 (95% CI: 1.11-4.36) with a positive dose-response relationship between estimated cumulative exposure and lung cancer risk. No association between exposure to styrene and lung cancer risk was found. In conclusion, we cannot exclude a weak association between occupational exposure to vinyl chloride and lung cancer risk. Exposure to acrylonitrile was associated in our study with risk of lung cancer. Exposure to styrene does not seem to increase lung cancer risk.
Copyright 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers