Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
Environmental exposure to pesticides and cancer risk in multiple human organ systems
Parron, T., Requena, M., Hernandez, A. F., Alarcon, R. Toxicol Lett. 2014. 230:2, 157-65.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Pesticides
Study design
Population based case-control
Funding agency
Autonomous Community of Andalusia Council of Healt
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
No analyses based on menopausal status
Number of Controls
Controls: 1,827,982 (male and female)
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Cases who lived in two districts in the Andalusian region of Southern Spain were identified from the Andalusian Health Service between 1998-2005. Controls were identified from 2001 census data and age and residence matched to cases. It is not clear how many female controls were used in the analysis.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Pesticide exposure based on amount of land in district devoted to "intensive" agriculture and 2001 pesticide sale data in each district. Pesticide exposure was categorized into "high" and "low" categories based on the amount of land devoted to intensive a
How exposure was measured
Geographic location
Exposure assessment comment
Length of residence in each region and the historical pesticide use in each region were not considered.
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Primary incident breast cancer
Confounders considered
Other breast cancer risk factors, such as family history, age at first birth, and hormone replacement therapy use, that were taken into account in the study.
Gender, age, and interaction term exposure x gender
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Strength of associations reported
Living in area of high vs low pesticide use: OR 1.36 (95% CI 1.29-1.44)
Results Comments
The authors note that the analysis is based on external measurements of pesticide exposure rather than biological ones, limiting the strength of the associations.
Author address
University of Almeria, Department of Neurosciences and Health Sciences, Almeria, Spain; Andalusian Council of Health at Almeria Province, Almeria, Spain. Andalusian Council of Health at Almeria Province, Almeria, Spain. University of Granada School of Med
Reviewers Comments
The lack of control for confounders and other exposures limits the strength of the study. The number of male breast cancer cases is not reported, though an OR based on age (not exposures) is presented for men.