Increased lung cancer risk among bricklayers in an Italian population-based case-control study

Am J Ind Med. 2012 May;55(5):423-8. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22017. Epub 2012 Feb 1.


Background: Bricklayers may be at increased risk of lung cancer, although a firm association has not been established. We examined this association within the EAGLE (Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology) study, a population-based case-control study conducted in Italy between 2002 and 2005.

Methods: For men in selected occupations in the construction sector we calculated smoking-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). For bricklayers we estimated the population attributable fraction (PAF) and the attributable community risk (ACR).

Results: We found increased lung cancer risk for bricklayers (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.12-2.21; 147 cases, 81 controls). The PAF was 3.5% (95% CI 0.6-6.3), corresponding to an ACR of 3.6 cases annually per 100,000 men (95% CI 0.6-6.6) [corrected] in the whole community. Among bricklayers, there were increased risks for squamous cell (OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.32-3.13, 56 exposed cases) and small cell carcinomas (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.29-4.07, 21 exposed cases), while no excess (OR 1.06, 95% CI 0.68-1.65, 41 exposed cases) was found for adenocarcinoma.

Conclusions: Our findings provide additional evidence of increased lung cancer risk in Italian bricklayers. The association is plausible because they are exposed to several carcinogens, notably crystalline silica.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinogens, Environmental / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Construction Industry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Carcinogens, Environmental