Cancer predictive value of cytogenetic markers used in occupational health surveillance programs: a report from an ongoing study by the European Study Group on Cytogenetic Biomarkers and Health

Mutat Res. 1998 Sep 20;405(2):171-8. doi: 10.1016/s0027-5107(98)00134-1.


The cytogenetic endpoints in peripheral blood lymphocytes: chromosomal aberrations (CA), sister chromatid exchange (SCE) and micronuclei (MN) are established biomarkers of exposure for mutagens or carcinogens in the work environment. However, it is not clear whether these biomarkers also may serve as biomarkers for genotoxic effects which will result in an enhanced cancer risk. In order to assess this problem, Nordic and Italian cohorts were established, and preliminary results from these two studies indicated a predictive value of CA frequency for cancer risk, whereas no such associations were observed for SCE or MN. A collaborative study between the Nordic and Italian research groups, will enable a more thorough evaluation of the cancer predictivity of the cytogenetic endpoints. We here report on the establishment of a joint data base comprising 5271 subjects, examined 1965-1988 for at least one cytogenetic biomarker. Totally, 3540 subjects had been examined for CA, 2702 for SCE and 1496 for MN. These cohorts have been followed-up with respect to subsequent cancer mortality or cancer incidence, and the expected values have been calculated from rates derived from the general populations in each country. Stratified cohort analyses will be performed with respect to the levels of the cytogenetic biomarkers. The importance of potential effect modifiers such as gender, age at test, and time since test, will be evaluated using Poisson regression models. The remaining two potential effect modifiers, occupational exposures and smoking, will be assessed in a case-referent study within the study base.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor*
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Cohort Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective
  • Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Occupational Health*
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange


  • Biomarkers, Tumor