Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
Print this page
Residue levels of DDE and PCBs in the blood serum of women in the Port Said region of Egypt
Ahmed, M. T., Loutfy, N., El Shiekh, E. Journal of Hazardous Materials. 2002. 89:1, 41-8.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Pesticide, organochlorine, DDT, DDE, PCB
Study design
Hospital based case-control
Funding agency
Other: University of Suez Canal, Egypt
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 21 with benign breast disease, 11 healthy
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
All participants were attending the same outpatient clinic in Port Said, Egypt. Cases were females diagnosed with invasive carcinoma. For the controls, 21 had benign breast disease, 11 were healthy.
Exposures investigated
Serum concentration of DDE and PCBs, no correction for lipid levels.
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.
No control for confounding
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
Comparison of serum concentrations of DDE and PCB between breast cancer cases, cases of benign breast disease, and healthy controls.
Strength of associations reported
Mean serum levels of DDE:
breast cancer cases: 41 ng/g (SD: 5.2)
benign breast disease cases: 48 ng/g (SD: 6.2)
healthy controls: 31 ng/g (SD: 2.5)

Mean serum levels of PCBs:
breast cancer cases: 54.9 ng/g (SD: 7.3)
benign breast disease cases: 59.2 ng/g (SD: 5.6)
healthy controls: 61.9 ng/g (SD: 8.3)
Results Comments
Lack of control of confounding, especially age, makes the comparison of serum concentrations difficult to interpret. No information is presented about the mean ages of each group.
Author address
Plant Protection Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt. motawfic@gega.net
Reviewers Comments
DDE detected in about 70% of samples, PCBs detected in about 45%.