Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Organochlorines, p53 mutations in relation to breast cancer risk and survival. A Danish cohort-nested case-controls study
Hoyer, A. P., Gerdes, A. M., Jorgensen, T., Rank, F., Hartvig, H. B. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2002. 71:1, 59-65.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Pesticide, organochlorine, PCB, Dieldrin, DDE, DDT
Study design
Nested case-control
Funding agency
Superfund, NIEHS, Danish Research Council, Danish
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 316
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Cases and controls were participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study. Cases were invasive breast cancers identified via linkage to Danish Cancer Registry. Controls were cohort members without cancer matched 2:1 based on age and vital status at time of diagnosis of case.
Exposures investigated
Serum lipid-adjusted concentrations of DDE, DDT, Dieldrin, and total PCBs. p53 tumor suppressor gene characterization from stored tumor tissue specimens (p53 mutation), used PCR
How exposure was measured
Biological Questionnaire
Breast cancer outcome investigated
Primary breast cancer
Breast cancer survival
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.
Parity, BMI, HRT use.
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
Logistic regression analysis of allele frequencies and organochlorine level on cancer risk. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess survival.
Strength of associations reported
The breast cancer ORs associated with high exposures to Dieldrin and PCBs were substantially higher for p53 mutants than wild-type subjects (although no odds ratios were significantly different from 1).

However the only exposure associated with a statistically significant risk of dying was Dieldrin among subjects with the wild-type p-53 polymorphism (only beta coefficients were presented for the latter analysis, not odds ratios).

Analyses stratified by genotype (wildtype or mutant) showed no consistent evidence of significant association of organochlorine exposure and BC risk
Author address
The Copenhagen Center for Prospective Population Studies, Denmark. APH@post8.tele.dk