Exposure to chlorinated solvents and lung cancer: results of the ICARE study

Occup Environ Med. 2014 Oct;71(10):681-9. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102182. Epub 2014 Jul 11.


Objective: To investigate the role of occupational exposure to chlorinated solvents in lung cancer aetiology.

Methods: ICARE (Investigation of occupational and environmental CAuses of REspiratory cancers) is a French, multicentre, population-based, case-control study. Information on the lifelong work history of 2926 cases and 3555 controls was collected using standardised questionnaires. Occupational exposures were assessed using job-exposure matrices for five chlorinated solvents. Solvents were studied separately and in combinations. ORs were computed using unconditional logistic regression models adjusted for classic risk factors, including a history of cigarette smoking and exposure to asbestos. Adjustment for socioeconomic status (SES) was also made.

Results: After adjustment for exposure to asbestos, we observed a positive, statistically significant association with lung cancer for men and women exposed to a combination of perchloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene and dichloromethane (DCM). Further adjustment for SES slightly decreased this association. In contrast, no statistically significant associations were found for other solvent combinations.

Conclusions: These results suggest that exposure to PCE may constitute a risk factor for lung cancer, especially among women, who seem to have a higher prevalence of exposure than men.

Keywords: Case-Control Study; Chlorinated Solvents; Lung Cancer; Occupational Exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinogens*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Methylene Chloride / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Tetrachloroethylene / adverse effects*
  • Trichloroethylene / adverse effects*


  • Carcinogens
  • Solvents
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Tetrachloroethylene