Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 263-270

Farm exposures, parental occupation, and risk of Ewing's sarcoma in Australia: a national case–control study

  • Patricia Casarolli ValeryAffiliated withPopulation & Clinical Sciences Division, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Royal Brisbane Hospital
  • , William McWhirterAffiliated withDepartment of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Queensland
  • , Adrian SleighAffiliated withSchool of Population Health, University of Queensland
  • , Gail WilliamsAffiliated withSchool of Population Health, University of Queensland
  • , Chris BainAffiliated withSchool of Population Health, University of Queensland

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Objective: It has been suggested that parental occupation, particularly farming, increased the risk of Ewing's sarcoma in the offspring. In a national case–control study we examined the relationship between farm and other parental occupational exposures and the risk of cancer in the offspring. Methods: Cases were 106 persons with confirmed Ewing's sarcoma or peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor. Population-based controls (344) were selected randomly via telephone. Information was collected by interview (84% face-to-face). Results: We found an excess of case mothers who worked on farms at conception and/or pregnancy (odds ratio (OR) = 2.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5–12.0) and a slightly smaller excess of farming fathers; more case mothers usually worked as laborers, machine operators, or drivers (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 0.9–3.9). Risk doubled for those whose mothers handled pesticides and insecticides, or fathers who handled solvents and glues, and oils and greases. Further, more cases lived on farms (OR = 1.6, 95% CI 0.9–2.8). In the 0–20 years group, the risk doubled for those who ever lived on a farm (OR = 2.0, 95% CI 1.0–3.9), and more than tripled for those with farming fathers at conception and/or pregnancy (OR = 3.5, 95% CI 1.0–11.9). Conclusions: Our data support the general hypothesis of an association of Ewing's sarcoma family of tumors with farming, particularly at younger ages, who represent the bulk of cases, and are more likely to share etiologic factors.

childhood cancer epidemiology Ewing's sarcoma occupational exposure