The INTEROCC case-control study: risk of meningioma and occupational exposure to selected combustion products, dusts and other chemical agents

Occup Environ Med. 2018 Jan;75(1):12-22. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2016-104280. Epub 2017 Sep 25.


Background: Little is known about occupational risk factors for meningioma.

Objectives: To study whether risk of meningioma is associated with several occupational exposures, including selected combustion products, dusts and other chemical agents.

Methods: The INTEROCC study was an international case-control study of brain cancer conducted in seven countries. Data collection by interview included lifetime occupational histories. A job exposure matrix was used to derive estimates of exposure for the 12 agents. ORs for ever versus never exposed and for exposure-response using duration of exposure and cumulative exposure were derived using conditional logistic regression stratified by sex, age group, country/region, adjusted for education.

Results: These analyses included 1906 cases and 5565 controls. For 11 of the 12 agents, no excess risk was found for ever exposed. For ever exposure to oil mists, an elevated OR of 1.57 (95% CI 1.10 to 2.22, 51 exposed cases) was found. Statistically significant exposure-response relationships were observed with cumulative exposure (p=0.01) and duration of exposure (p=0.04). Among women, there were also significant trends for cumulative and duration of exposure to asbestos and excesses in the highest exposure categories for formaldehyde.

Conclusions: Most agents examined did not provoke excess risks of meningioma. The main finding from this study is that it is the first study to identify a statistical association between exposure to oil mists and meningioma. This may be a chance finding or could be due to confounding with iron exposure and further research is required to understand whether the relationship is causal.

Keywords: combustion products; dusts; meningioma; occupational exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asbestos / adverse effects
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dust*
  • Female
  • Formaldehyde / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms
  • Meningioma / etiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Oils / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoke*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Dust
  • Oils
  • Smoke
  • Asbestos
  • Formaldehyde