Risk of total and aggressive prostate cancer and pesticide use in the Agricultural Health Study

Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Jan 1;177(1):59-74. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws225. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Abstract

Because pesticides may operate through different mechanisms, the authors studied the risk of prostate cancer associated with specific pesticides in the Agricultural Health Study (1993-2007). With 1,962 incident cases, including 919 aggressive prostate cancers among 54,412 applicators, this is the largest study to date. Rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated by using Poisson regression to evaluate lifetime use of 48 pesticides and prostate cancer incidence. Three organophosphate insecticides were significantly associated with aggressive prostate cancer: fonofos (rate ratio (RR) for the highest quartile of exposure (Q4) vs. nonexposed = 1.63, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.22, 2.17; P(trend) < 0.001); malathion (RR for Q4 vs. nonexposed = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.08, 1.88; P(trend) = 0.04); and terbufos (RR for Q4 vs. nonexposed = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.64; P(trend) = 0.03). The organochlorine insecticide aldrin was also associated with increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer (RR for Q4 vs. nonexposed = 1.49, 95% CI: 1.03, 2.18; P(trend) = 0.02). This analysis has overcome several limitations of previous studies with the inclusion of a large number of cases with relevant exposure and detailed information on use of specific pesticides at 2 points in time. Furthermore, this is the first time specific pesticides are implicated as risk factors for aggressive prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Agriculture / statistics & numerical data*
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Health Behavior
  • Herbicides / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / toxicity*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index

Substances

  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Organophosphorus Compounds