Traffic air pollution and risk of death from ovarian cancer in Taiwan: fine particulate matter (PM2.5) as a proxy marker

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2012;75(3):174-82. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2012.641200.


The relationship between mortality attributed to ovarian cancer and exposure to ambient air pollutants was examined using an ecological design. The study areas consisted of 61 municipalities in Taiwan. Air quality data for recorded concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from study municipalities for 2006-2009 were obtained as a marker of traffic emissions. These were used as a proxy for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) exposure. Age-standardized mortality rates for ovarian cancer were calculated for the study municipalities for the years 1999-2008. A weighted multiple regression model was employed to calculate the adjusted risk ratio (RR) in relation to PM2.5 levels. After adjusting for urbanization level and fertility rate, the adjusted RR values (95% confidence interval [CI]) for ovarian cancer were 1.2 (1.02-1.41) for the municipalities with PM2.5 levels between 30.48 μg/m3 and 39.41 μg/m3 and 1.2 (1.03-1.39) for the municipalities with PM2.5 levels between 39.48 μg/m3 and 51.1 μg/m3, compared to the municipalities with PM2.5 levels less than 30.39 μg/m3. Results showed that individuals who resided in municipalities with higher levels of PM2.5, a proxy measure of PAH, were at an increased risk of death from ovarian cancer compared to those subjects living in municipalities with the lowest PM2.5. The findings of this study warrant further investigation into the role of exposure to air pollutants in the etiology of ovarian cancer development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology
  • Particulate Matter / toxicity*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / toxicity
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons