European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 25, Issue 10, pp 721-730

First online:

Occupational exposures and risk of pancreatic cancer

  • Miguel SantibañezAffiliated withResearch Support Unit, IFIMAV-Marques de Valdecilla FoundationDepartamento de Salud Pública, Universidad Miguel Hernández
  • , Jesús VioqueAffiliated withDepartamento de Salud Pública, Universidad Miguel HernándezCIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP)
  • , Juan AlguacilAffiliated withCIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP)Departamento de Biología Ambiental y Salud Pública, Universidad de Huelva Email author 
  • , Manuela García de la HeraAffiliated withDepartamento de Salud Pública, Universidad Miguel HernándezCIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP)
  • , Eduardo Moreno-OssetAffiliated withServicio de Medicina Digestiva, Hospital Universitario Dr. Peset, Universidad de Valencia
  • , Alfredo CarratoAffiliated withServicio de Oncología Médica, Hospital General de Elche
  • , Miquel PortaAffiliated withCIBER de Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP)Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdica (IMIM-Hospital del Mar)Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
  • , Timo KauppinenAffiliated withFinnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH)

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The objective was to analyze the relationship between occupation (and specific occupational exposures) and risk of exocrine pancreatic cancer (EPC). We conducted a multicenter hospital-based case–control study in Eastern Spain. We included 161 incident cases of EPC (59.6% men, 94 with histological confirmation, of whom 80% had ductal adenocarcinoma). Cases were frequency-matched with 455 controls by sex, age and province of residence. Information was elicited using structured questionnaires. Occupations were coded according to the Spanish version of the International Standard Classification of Occupations 1988. Occupational exposure to a selection of carcinogenic substances was assessed with the Finnish Job-Exposure Matrix (FINJEM). Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated by multiple logistic regression, adjusting for sex, age, province, education, alcohol and smoking. A higher risk of EPC was associated with having worked as ‘Miners, shotfirers, stone cutters and carvers’, ‘Machinery mechanics and fitters’, ‘Building trades workers’ and ‘Motor vehicle drivers’ in men, ‘Office Clerks’ in women, and ‘Waiters’ in both sexes. Cases with ductal adenocarcinomas were more likely to have been exposed to chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents (OR = 4.1, 95% CI: 1.1–15.2, p-trend = 0.04). We also observed significant associations with exposure to ‘synthetic polymer dust exposure’ and ‘ionizing radiation’. Suggestive increases in risk were observed for ‘pesticides’, ‘diesel and gasoline engine exhaust’, and ‘hydrocarbon solvents’. Results support the hypothesis that occupational exposure to chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents is associated with exocrine pancreatic cancer.


Chlorinated hydrocarbons Occupation Occupational exposures Pancreatic neoplasms