Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Serum levels of beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, hexachlorobenzene and polychlorinated biphenyls and breast cancer in Mexican women
Lopez-Carrillo, L., Lopez-Cervantes, M., Torres-Sanchez, L., Blair, A., Cebrian, M. E., Garcia, R. M. European Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2002. 11:2, 129-35.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - Pesticides, PCB, hexachlorocyclohexane, HCH, hexac
Study design
Hospital based case-control
Funding agency
Not reported
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 95
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Cases were histologically-confirmed new breast cancer cases. Controls were age-matched to the cases, and had no previous cancers. They were recruited from the clinical wards of participating hospitals, except for the gynecology and oncology ward. Described in Lopez-Carillo et al, 1997.
Exposures investigated
Lipid-corrected serum concentrations of hexachlorocyclohexane, hexachlorobenzene. and PCBs. The exposure measure did not evaluate the concentrations of individual PCB congeners.
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 at menarche, number of children and age at first birth, lifetime lactation, menopausal status, BMI, and 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
Comparison of lipid-corrected serum concentrations of hexachlorocyclohexane, hexachlorobenzene, and PCBs using Wilcoxon tests. Odds ratios for breast cancer were calculated using conditional logistic regressions.
Strength of associations reported
No significant differences were found between the serum levels of cases and controls, for any of the compounds.

Adjusted ORs for breast cancer in the highest tertile of exposure, compared to the lowest:
hexachlorocyclohexane: 1.05 (0.46 - 2.40)
hexachlorobenzene: 0.46 (0.20 - 1.07)
PCBs: 1.31 (0.33 - 5.21)
Results Comments
The exposure measure did not evaluate the concentrations of individual PCB congeners. PCB concentration was expressed relative to the concentration of the commercial PCB mixture Aroclor 1260, which could lead to exposure misclassification if the Aroclor 1260 concentrations vary among the participants.
Author address
National Institute of Public Health, Mexico Secretariat of Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. lizbeth@insp3.insp.mx