Parental Occupational Exposure to Organic Solvents and Testicular Germ Cell Tumors in their Offspring: NORD-TEST Study

Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Jun 30;125(6):067023. doi: 10.1289/EHP864.


Background: Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) were suggested to have a prenatal environmentally related origin. The potential endocrine disrupting properties of certain solvents may interfere with the male genital development in utero.

Objectives: We aimed to assess the association between maternal and paternal occupational exposures to organic solvents during the prenatal period and TGCT risk in their offspring.

Methods: This registry-based case control study included TGCT cases aged 14–49 y (n=8,112) diagnosed from 1978 to 2012 in Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Controls (n=26,264) were randomly selected from the central population registries and were individually matched to cases on year and country of birth. Occupational histories of parents prior to the child’s birth were extracted from the national censuses. Job codes were converted into solvent exposure using the Nordic job-Nordic Occupational Cancer Study Job-Exposure Matrix. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

Results: Overall, no association was found between prenatal maternal exposure to solvents and TGCT risk. In subset analyses using only mothers for whom occupational information was available in the year of or in the year prior to the child’s birth, there was an association with maternal exposure to aromatic hydrocarbon solvents (ARHC) (OR=1.53; CI: 1.08, 2.17), driven by exposure to toluene (OR=1.67; CI: 1.02, 2.73). No association was seen for any paternal occupational exposure to solvents with the exception of exposure to perchloroethylene in Finland (OR=2.42; CI: 1.32, 4.41).

Conclusions: This study suggests a modest increase in TGCT risk associated with maternal prenatal exposure to ARHC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal / epidemiology*
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Paternal Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Solvents*
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Solvents

Supplementary concepts

  • Testicular Germ Cell Tumor