Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Organochlorine exposures and breast cancer risk in New York City women
Wolff, M. S., Berkowitz, G. S., Brower, S., Senie, R., Bleiweiss, I. J., Tartter, P., Pace, B., Roy, N., Wallenstein, S., Weston, A. Environmental Research. 2000. 84:2, 151-61.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - pesticide, organochlorine, PCB, DDE, DDT, trans-no
Study design
Hospital based case-control
Funding agency
Other: US NIH
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 355
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Cases were incident breast cancer patients. Controls were benign breast disease patients, or non-cancer non-BBD patients (the latter were recruited from patients undergoing screening or minor surgical procedures in the same offices).
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
Serum concentrations of DDE, DDT, PCBs (HPCBs: congeners 118, 153, 141, 138, 183, 187, 167, 174, 177, 156, 180, 170, 201, 203; and LPCBs: congeners 28, 66, 74, 99, 101), and trans-nonachlor.
Exposure assessment comment
A single measure of serum pesticide concentration close to the time of diagnosis may not be representative of the etiologic pesticide dose.
Statistical Analysis
Ethnic groups with separate analysis
If this study provided a separate analysis by ethnic or racial group, the groups are listed here.
African Americans Hispanics Americans
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, age-squared, menopausal status, race, BMI, family history of breast cancer, lactation history, parity.
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
1) Parametric comparison of log-transformed organochlorine serum concentrations between cases and controls, and between tumor markers. 2) Unconditional logistic regression was used to calculate the relative risks for tertiles of organochlorine exposure. S
Strength of associations reported
Lipid-adjusted levels of DDE, HPCB, and trans-nonachlor were higher among African-American women (the 95% confidence intervals did not include 1).
No significant associations between organochlorine levels and breast cancer risk.
There was a suggestive increasing risk for lipid-adjusted DDT: 1, 1.19 (95% CI: 0.73-2.0), 1.34 (95% CI: 0.82-2.2).
There were no significant differences in organochlorine concentrations between tumor markers (after adjusting for age, race, menopausal status), although there were higher levels of DDE, DDT, and HPCBs in women with ER positive tumors.
Results Comments
No significant differences were seen. Control for confounding was sufficient, and analyses were stratified by many risk factors.
Author address
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.