Agricultural exposure and risk of soft tissue sarcomas and gastrointestinal stromal sarcoma in the AGRIculture and CANcer (AGRICAN) cohort

Int J Cancer. 2022 Jun 1;150(11):1792-1803. doi: 10.1002/ijc.33936. Epub 2022 Jan 29.


Sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors whose incidence is nearly 5 per 100 000 inhabitants in Europe. Their causes are poorly understood, although occupational exposures (especially farming and pesticides) are suspected. The AGRICAN cohort is a prospective study of 181 842 individuals enrolled in 2005 to 2007 who completed an enrolment questionnaire with data on lifelong agricultural exposure. Associations between agricultural exposure and sarcoma overall, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) and myomatous and fibrous sarcoma together, were analyzed with a Cox model. Until 2015, 188 incident cases of sarcoma were identified. Increased risks were observed (a) among cattle farmers working <10 years (HR<10years = 2.45, 95% CI 1.36-4.43) and breeding ≥50 livestock (HR≥50animals = 3.84, 95% CI 1.60-9.22), especially if involved in animal care and building disinfection, (b) in greenhouse production (HR = 1.82, 95% CI 1.01-3.30) and (c) in field-grown vegetable production (HR = 1.49, 95% CI 0.96-2.32). Concerning histological subtypes, GIST were positively associated with pesticide use in vineyards (HR = 2.24, 95% CI 0.95-5.30). For myomatous and fibrous sarcoma, the only increase was seen in field-grown vegetable production (HR = 2.37, 95% CI 1.16-4.85). In AGRICAN, the risk of sarcomas was increased in several farming activities with differences according to histological subtype.

Keywords: cohort; farming; occupational exposure; pesticides; sarcoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Farmers
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pesticides* / toxicity
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sarcoma* / epidemiology


  • Pesticides