Environment and Breast Cancer: Science Review

Evidence From Humans
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Polychlorinated biphenyls contamination in women with breast cancer
Charlier, CJ., Albert, AI., Zhang, L., Dubois, NG., Plomteux, GJ. Clin Chim Acta. 2004. 347:1-2, 177-81.
Topic area
Environmental pollutant - PCB
Study design
Hospital based case-control
Funding agency
Not specified
Study Participants
Menopausal Status
The menopausal status of women included in this study is listed here.
Pre menopausal
Post menopausal
Number of Controls
Controls: 60
Participant selection: Inclusion and exclusion criteria
Criteria used to select participants in the study.
Cases were women diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a surgical intervention. Controls were selected at random in a population of presumably healthy women consulting for routine systematic cervico-vaginal cytological screening.
Exposure Investigated
Exposures investigated
PCB concentration (congeners 28, 52, 101, 118, 138, 153, 180) was measured in serum samples using gas chromatography.
Exposure assessment comment
A one-time exposure assessment for cases at the time of diagnosis may not be representative of a possible etiologic dose of PCBs.
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, age at menarche, menopause, HRT, parity, breast feeding, family history of cancer, concentrations of other PCBs (52, 101, 138, 153, 180)
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 was used to examine the association between risk factors and breast cancer outcome. Log-transformed concentrations of all the PC concentrations were included in the model simultaneously.
Strength of associations reported
The only PCB significantly associated with breast cancer was congener 153 (OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.4-2.5). The only other significantly associated risk factor was menopause (OR = 4.4, 95% CI: 1.1-1.8).
Results Comments
PCB 153 was associated with cancer risk in spite of simultaneously controlling for all the other PCB congeners.