Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 277–283

Multiple Myeloma and Work in Agriculture: Results of a Case-Control Study in Forlì, Italy


  • Oriana Nanni
    • Istituto Oncologico Romagnolo
  • Fabio Falcini
    • Medical Oncology DepartmentLuigi Pierantoni Hospital
  • Eva Buiatti
    • Epidemiology UnitCenter for Study and Prevention of Cancer
  • Lauro Bucchi
    • Romagna Cancer Registry
  • Monica Naldoni
  • Patrizia Serra
    • Istituto Oncologico Romagnolo
  • Emanuela Scarpi
    • Istituto Oncologico Romagnolo
  • Luca Saragoni
    • Pathology DepartmentLuigi Pierantoni Hospital
  • Dino Amadori
    • Medical Oncology DepartmentLuigi Pierantoni Hospital

DOI: 10.1023/A:1008821119851

Cite this article as:
Nanni, O., Falcini, F., Buiatti, E. et al. Cancer Causes Control (1998) 9: 277. doi:10.1023/A:1008821119851


Objectives: To evaluate the relation between the exposure to specific pesticides in agricultural work and the risk of multiple myeloma (MM).

Methods: A case-control study was conducted in the province of Forlì, Italy. Forty-six cases of MM (20 females, 26 males; mean age 64 years, range 40 to 74) identified through the Romagna Cancer Registry in the years 1987-90, and 230 age- and gender-matched controls from the general population were interviewed in-person using a structured questionnaire focused on exposure to pesticides and other occupational and nonoccupational variables.

Results: Among nonoccupational factors, the education level and the altitude of the place of residence were related inversely to MM risk. First-degree familiarity for hematolymphopoietic neoplasias and previous herpes zoster diagnosis were associated positively with the disease. A nonsignificant increase in MM risk was observed among workers in agriculture as a whole (odds ratio [OR] = 1.31, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 0.62-2.74). An increased risk was associated specifically with the cultivation of apples and pears (OR = 1.75, CI = 1.05-2.91). As regards pesticide exposure, only the chlorinated insecticides were related to an increase in the risk of MM.

Conclusions: This study suggests that agricultural work and exposure to pesticides have a role in the etiology of MM. Cancer Causes and Control 1998, 9, 277-283

AgriculturealtitudeItalymultiple myelomapesticides
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© Lippincott-Raven Publishers 1998