Association of brain cancer with dental X-rays and occupation in Missouri

Cancer Detect Prev. 1991;15(1):31-4.


This investigation of a brain cancer cluster in Missouri used two approaches to investigate associations with potential risk factors. In a case-control study in a rural town, we interviewed surrogates of cases and controls about potential risk factors. We found a statistically significant positive association of brain cancer with reported exposure to dental X-rays. Occupation was not associated with the cluster in the rural town. In a standardized proportional mortality study for the state of Missouri, we calculated the observed and expected proportion of brain cancers by occupation and industry in Missouri decedents. We found that motor vehicle manufacturers, beauty shop workers, managers and administrators, elementary school teachers, and hairdressers and cosmetologists had significantly elevated proportions of brain cancer. Brain tumors are inconsistently associated with occupation in the literature. Further study of brain cancer etiology with respect to dental X-ray exposures seems warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Radiography, Dental / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Space-Time Clustering