Influence of author's affiliation and funding sources on the results of cohort studies on occupational cancer

Am J Ind Med. 2016 Mar;59(3):221-6. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22549. Epub 2015 Dec 17.

Abstract

Background: Reliability and credibility of research conducted by industry have been questioned, including in the field of occupational health.

Methods: Cohort studies on occupational cancer published between 2000 and 2010 were compared according to their results, their conclusions, their funding, and the affiliation of their authors.

Results: Overall, 510 articles were included. Studies published by authors with public affiliation or funded by public grants concluded that their study showed an excess of cancer more frequently (P = 0.01) than studies published by authors with private affiliation or funded by private grants (88% [95%CI = 85-91] vs. 73% [95%CI = 56-88] and 92% [95%CI = 86-97] vs. 71% [95%CI = 57-84], respectively). Discrepancies between statistical results and conclusion occurred more frequently in articles written by authors from the private sector than from the public sector (42% [IC95% = 26-60] vs. 23% [IC95% = 18-26], P = 0.02).

Conclusions: Industry affiliations of authors or industry support of studies are associated with the results of published studies on occupational cancer. The underlying mechanisms warrant further investigation.

Keywords: conflict of interest; industry; neoplasms; occupational exposures.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Conflict of Interest*
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Neoplasms*
  • Occupational Diseases*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Personnel*
  • Research Support as Topic*