Objective: Occupational causes of haematological malignancies are relatively uncommon, under-studied and under-identified. They are also often unrecognized by clinicians. This review summarizes the principal epidemiologic studies on this topic.
Methods: We analyzed the recent relevant human data found in the Medline, the Pascal and the BDSP databases.
Results: Benzene and ionizing radiation are the only agents conclusively demonstrated to be carcinogenic to the haematopoietic system. In particular, both exposures are strongly associated with acute myeloid leukaemia. Low doses of both may also be related to myeloid malignancies. Infectious agents and pesticides are also thought to induce lymphoproliferative cancers. Some studies show an association between haematological malignancies and low-frequency electromagnetic fields and organic solvents. All of these suspected occupational causes must be confirmed by further studies.
Conclusions: Better knowledge and understanding of occupational causes of haematological malignancies are necessary to improve their prevention and compensation.