Pesticide exposure and risk of aggressive prostate cancer among private pesticide applicators

Environ Health. 2020 Mar 5;19(1):30. doi: 10.1186/s12940-020-00583-0.

Abstract

Background: Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers among men in developed countries; however, little is known about modifiable risk factors. Some studies have implicated organochlorine and organophosphate insecticides as risk factors (particularly the organodithioate class) and risk of clinically significant PCa subtypes. However, few studies have evaluated other pesticides. We used data from the Agricultural Health Study, a large prospective cohort of pesticide applicators in North Carolina and Iowa, to extend our previous work and evaluate 39 additional pesticides and aggressive PCa.

Methods: We used Cox proportional hazards models, with age as the time scale, to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association between ever use of individual pesticides and 883 cases of aggressive PCa (distant stage, poorly differentiated grade, Gleason score ≥ 7, or fatal prostate cancer) diagnosed between 1993 and 2015. All models adjusted for birth year, state, family history of PCa, race, and smoking status. We conducted exposure-response analyses for pesticides with reported lifetime years of use.

Results: There was an increased aggressive PCa risk among ever users of the organodithioate insecticide dimethoate (n = 54 exposed cases, HR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.04, 1.80) compared to never users. We observed an inverse association between aggressive PCa and the herbicide triclopyr (n = 35 exposed cases, HR = 0.68, 95% CI = 0.48, 0.95), with the strongest inverse association for those reporting durations of use above the median (≥ 4 years; n = 13 exposed cases, HR=0.44, 95% CI=0.26, 0.77).

Conclusion: Few additional pesticides were associated with prostate cancer risk after evaluation of extended data from this large cohort of private pesticide applicators.

Keywords: Aggressive prostate cancer (PCa); Organodithioate insecticides; Pesticide; Pesticide applicators.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Iowa / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Pesticides