In utero exposure to persistent organic pollutants in relation to testicular cancer risk

Int J Androl. 2006 Feb;29(1):228-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2005.00622.x. Epub 2005 Dec 20.


Testicular cancer is the most common tumour type in young men. In Sweden the annual age-adjusted incidence increased significantly by 2.4% during the time period 1984-1993 and during 1994-2003 by 1.4%. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals during the foetal period has been postulated to be a risk factor. In this investigation we studied the concentrations of chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyl-dichloroethylene (pp'-DDE), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), chlordanes and polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) in 58 cases with testicular cancer and 61 age-matched controls. Furthermore, case and control mothers were also asked to participate and 44 case mothers and 45 control mothers agreed. No significant differences were found between cases and controls. Case mothers had in general higher concentrations of these chemicals. For the sum of PCBs an odds ratio (OR) = 3.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4-10 was calculated using the median concentration for the controls as cut-off value. For HCB OR = 4.4, CI = 1.7-12 and for PBDE OR = 2.5, 95% CI = 1.02-6.0 were obtained, whereas OR was not significantly increased for pp'-DDE and sum of chlordanes. The cases were born during a period with high concentrations of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in humans. The decline of the increasing incidence of testicular cancer during recent years may reflect decreasing body burden of certain POPs since the 1980s.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Organic Chemicals / blood
  • Organic Chemicals / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Testicular Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology


  • Organic Chemicals