Objectives: Mycosis Fungoides (MF) is a rare disease with an occurrence indicating that occupational exposures may play a role. To estimate the association between MF and occupational exposures as measured by means of an job-exposure matrix (JEM).
Methods: A European multicenter case-control study was conducted from 1995 to 1997 and included seven rare cancers, one of which was MF. Patients between 35 and 69 years of age, diagnosed with MF (n=140), were recruited and the diagnoses were checked by a reference pathologist who classified 83 cases as definite, 35 cases as possible and 22 cases as not accepted. Among the 118 accepted cases, 104 cases were interviewed, of which 76 were definite cases. We selected population controls and colon cancer controls to serve all seven case groups. Altogether 833 colon cancer controls and 2071 population controls were interviewed. Based on the reported occupational experiences, a team of industrial hygiene specialists identified five potential exposures and developed an JEM. This JEM was used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) for MF as a function of these exposures. The JEM included aromatic and/or halogenated hydrocarbons (AAHs), chrome (VI) and its salts, electromagnetic radiations, silica and pesticides.
Results: Exposures to AHHs (OR 6.3, C.I 2.4-16.7 for male) were associated with a high MF risk.
Conclusions: The study supports the hypothesis that some MFs have an occupational etiology but only a small fraction of exposed workers are apparently susceptible since the disease is so rare.