Background: Any association between occupation and pancreatic cancer risk has not been conclusively demonstrated. A population-based case-control study was conducted to examine occupational risks of pancreatic cancer in Shanghai, China.
Methods: The study included 451 pancreatic cancer patients newly diagnosed in 1990-1993 and 1,552 controls randomly selected from Shanghai residents. Information on a lifetime job history and other factors was obtained in a face-to-face interview.
Results: Among men, an increased risk of pancreatic cancer was associated with employment as an electrician (OR = 7.5, CI = 2.6-21.8), and a positive trend in risk with increasing duration of employment was apparent (P for trend = 0.0003). Exposure to electric magnetic fields (EMF) as measured by a job exposure matrix also was associated with an increased risk among electricians. Threefold risks were observed for men with the highest level of intensity and for those with the highest probability of EMF exposure, although women with heavy EMF exposure did not experience increased risk. Among men, elevated risks also were found for metal workers (OR = 2.1, CI = 1.0-4.8); toolmakers (OR = 3.4, CI = 14-7.1); plumbers and welders (OR = 3.0, CI = 1.2-7.5); and glass manufacturers, potters, painters, and construction workers (OR = 2.6, CI = 1.1-6.3). Among women, textile workers experienced an increased risk (OR = 1.4, CI = 0.8-2.6).
Conclusions: Our results suggest that occupations associated with exposures to metal and textile dusts or certain chemicals may increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. The elevated risk among electricians may warrant further study to evaluate the possible role of EMF or other exposures.