Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
Organochlorine pesticide content of breast adipose tissue from women with breast cancer and control subjects
Bagga, D., Anders, K. H., Wang, H. J., Roberts, E., Glaspy, J. A. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2000. 92:9, 750-3.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Pesticide, DDT, DDE
Study design
Hospital based case-control
Funding agency
NCI Other: Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Pro
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 73
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Cases and controls recruited from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills. Controls were women undergoing reduction mammoplasty for mastomegaly.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Breast adipose tissue concentrations of DDT, DDE, DDD. A strength of the exposure measure is that breast adipose tissue was used, instead of gluteal adipose tissue as in some other studies.
Exposure assessment comment
A single measure of breast adipose tissue pesticide concentration close to the time of diagnosis may not be representative of the etiologic period.
Statistical Analysis
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.
Age, BMI, menopausal status, family history of breast cancer
Genetic characterization included
If the study analyzed relationships between environmental factors and inherited genetic variations, this field will be marked “Yes.” “No”, if not.
Description of major analysis
T-test comparison of logarithmically transformed DDT/DDE/DDD concentrations between cases and controls (both on wet weight basis and lipid basis). Logistic regression with age and pesticide concentration as independent variables.
Strength of associations reported
Comparison of lipid basis organochlorine concentrations in cases and controls:
DDE: 800 vs 709 ng/g (p = 0.005)
DDT + DDE + DDD: 934 vs 861 ng/g (p = 0.02)

OR for DDT, controlled for age: 1.052 (95% CI: 0.930-1.191)
OR for DDE, controlled for age: 1.126 (95% CI: 0.792-1.603)
OR for DDT + DDE + DDD, controlled for age: 0.904 (95% CI: 0.712-1.148)
Results Comments
Although cases have higher organochlorine concentrations in breast tissue, the difference are entirely explained by the greater age of the cases. Unlike in other studies, cases and controls were not matched on age, leading to the significantly different age distributions between these two groups.
Author address
Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, School of Medicine 90095-6956, USA.