Assessing environmental and occupational risk factors for lung cancer in Mexican-Americans

Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Dec;21(12):2157-64. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9635-1. Epub 2010 Aug 31.


Background: We investigated environmental and occupational exposures and smoking history (while controlling for demographics) in a population of Mexican-American lung cancer cases and controls from the Houston metropolitan area.

Methods: Data were collected between 1991 and 2005 as part of an on-going multi-racial/ethnic, lung cancer case-control study. Cases included 212 Mexican-American lung cancer cases from UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Controls (n = 328) were recruited from Houston's largest multispecialty group practice and frequency matched to the cases by age (± 5 years), sex, and ethnicity. Environmental and occupational factors were analyzed and odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression.

Results: We detected elevated risks of lung cancer associated with pesticide exposure and found conventional and antimicrobial (e.g., sterilizers, disinfectants, antiseptics) pesticides were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in Mexican-Americans (conventional pesticides and antimicrobial pesticides combined: OR = 1.80, 95% CI 1.13-2.86; conventional pesticides: OR = 2.05, 95% CI 1.23-2.39; antimicrobial pesticides: OR = 2.48, 95% CI 1.46-4.21).

Conclusions: Although we found over a two-fold increased risk of lung cancer among Mexican-Americans for pesticides, we could not identify individual pesticides. Our findings are an important preliminary step in identifying factors that are specifically associated with lung cancer risk among Mexican Americans.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma / ethnology
  • Carcinoma / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pesticides / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Texas / epidemiology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Pesticides