Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
Serum organochlorine pesticides and PCBs and breast cancer risk: results from a prospective analysis (USA)
Dorgan, J. F., Brock, J. W., Rothman, N., Needham, L. L., Miller, R., Stephenson, H. E., Jr., Schussler, N., Taylor, P. R. Cancer Causes and Control. 1999. 10:1, 1-11.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Pesticides, organochlorine, PCBs
Study design
Nested case-control
Funding agency
US Centers for Disease Control
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number in Cohort
Cohort: 6,426 women Controls: 208
Cohort participation rate
70% contacted in 1982-1983
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Women with adequate blood sample size who were free of breast cancer when they donated serum to the Columbia Missouri Breast Cancer Serum Bank in 1977-1987. Followed by mail until 1989. Controls were living and cancer-free at the age of the case's diagnosis. Matched on month and year of blood draw, BBD at enrollment.
Comment about participation selection
Substantial loss to follow-up.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
DDT, DDE, 27 PCB congeners, HCB, lindane, HCH, heptachlor, chlordane, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, mirex
How exposure was measured
Biological Questionnaire, self-administered
Exposure assessment comment
Prospective blood collection is a strength. Results for many samples were below the detection limit.
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
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.
Adequately controlled.
Strength of associations reported
Elevated risk was found only for hexachlorobenzene; OR=2.3 (95% CI 1.0-5.3) for highest compared to lowest quartile, but risk does not increase monotonically across exposure categories. Relative risks below one were observed for some exposures.
Results Comments
Overall, results do not support an association between breast cancer and organochlorines in serum.
Author address
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-7374, USA.