Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 1645–1651

Ambient air pollution and brain cancer mortality

  • Roberta McKean-Cowdin
  • Eugenia E. Calle
  • John M. Peters
  • Jane Henley
  • Lindsay Hannan
  • George D. Thurston
  • Michael J. Thun
  • Susan Preston-Martin
Original paper



Growing evidence that ultrafine particles in ambient air can cause brain lesions in animals led us to investigate whether particulate components of air pollution may be associated with brain cancer risk in humans. Air pollution has been associated with respiratory disorders and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, but associations between air pollutants and brain cancer have not been investigated in adults.


The analyses included 1,284 deaths due to brain cancer from the Cancer Prevention Study-II, an ongoing prospective mortality study of adults in the United States and Puerto Rico conducted by the American Cancer Society. Air pollution data from national databases for metropolitan areas were combined with residential history and vital status data to estimate exposure to particulate and gaseous air pollution.


We found no elevated risk for estimated measures of air pollutants, an unanticipated reduction in risk was found between gaseous air pollutants and brain cancer mortality.


The findings do not provide evidence of increased risk of brain cancer mortality due to air pollutants.


Brain cancer Mortality Air pollution Cohort Particulate matter Epidemiology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta McKean-Cowdin
    • 1
  • Eugenia E. Calle
    • 2
  • John M. Peters
    • 1
  • Jane Henley
    • 2
  • Lindsay Hannan
    • 2
  • George D. Thurston
    • 3
  • Michael J. Thun
    • 2
  • Susan Preston-Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Norris Comprehensive Cancer CenterLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.American Cancer Society, National Home OfficeAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.NYU School of MedicineTuxedoUSA

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