Exposure to pesticides and prostate cancer: systematic review of the literature

Rev Environ Health. 2016 Sep 1;31(3):311-27. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2016-0001.


Introduction: Investigations about the association between prostate cancer and environmental and/or occupational pesticide exposure have evidenced a possible role of these chemical substances on tumor etiology, related to their action as endocrine disruptors.

Objective: To assess the association between pesticide exposure and prostate cancer by conducting a systematic review of the scientific literature.

Materials and methods: Articles published until August 18, 2015 were searched in the databases MEDLINE/Pubmed, Scielo, and Lilacs using the keywords "pesticides" and "prostate cancer". Only the analytical observational studies whose methodological quality met the criteria established by the New Castle-Ottawa scale were included in this review.

Results: The review included 49 studies published between 1993 and 2015. All studies were in English and analyzed exposure to pesticides and/or agricultural activities. Most studies (32 articles) found a positive association between prostate cancer and pesticides or agricultural occupations, with estimates ranging from 1.01 to 14.10.

Conclusion: The evidence provided by the reviewed studies indicates a possible association between the development of prostate cancer and pesticide exposure and/or agricultural occupations.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology


  • Pesticides