Prostate cancer and occupational whole-body vibration exposure

Ann Occup Hyg. 2012 Oct;56(8):968-74. doi: 10.1093/annhyg/mes010. Epub 2012 Apr 26.


Prostate cancer is common and its etiology largely unknown; therefore, it is important to explore all potential risk factors that are biologically plausible. Recent literature suggests a relationship between whole-body vibration (WBV) and prostate cancer risk. The aim of this study was to determine whether occupational WBV was a risk factor for prostate cancer. Existing data, collected on 447 incident cases and 532 population controls (or their proxies), in Montreal, Canada, were used to evaluate this question. Personal interviews collected detailed job descriptions for every job held, the tasks involved, and type of equipment used. For each job, experts assessed the intensity and daily duration of WBV exposure. Inter-rater agreement for WBV ratings was examined using the kappa statistic, with values that ranged from 0.83 to 0.94. Logistic regression models explored the relationship between WBV exposure and prostate cancer, using various combinations of intensity, daily duration, and years of exposure. Potential confounders were also examined. Occupations with WBV exposure demonstrated an increased statistically non-significant risk [odds ratio (OR) = 1.44, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.99-2.09]. The risk for transport equipment operation, a job with WBV exposure, was significantly elevated (OR = 1.90, 95% CI: 1.07-3.39). These results, together with those of an earlier study, suggest that workers in heavy equipment and transport equipment operation may have increased risk of prostate cancer. Further investigation is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vibration / adverse effects*