Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 2037–2049

Occupational exposure to methylene chloride and risk of cancer: a meta-analysis

Review paper



We searched MEDLINE and EMBASE for epidemiologic studies on occupational exposure to methylene chloride and risk of cancer. Estimates of study-specific odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using inverse-variance-weighted fixed-effects models and random-effects models. Statistical tests for heterogeneity were applied.


We summarized data from five cohort studies and 13 case–control studies. The pooled OR for multiple myeloma was (OR 2.04; 95 % CI 1.31–3.17) in relation to occupational exposure to methylene chloride but not for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukemia, breast, bronchus, trachea and lung, brain and other CNS, biliary passages and liver, prostate, pancreas, and rectum. Furthermore, we focused on specific outcomes for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma because of exposure misclassification. The pooling OR for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma was 1.42 (95 % CI 1.10–1.83) with moderate degree of heterogeneity among the studies (I2 = 26.9 %, p = 0.205).


We found an excess risk of multiple myeloma. The non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia that have shown weak effects should be investigated further.


Methylene chloride Meta-analysis Cancer Hydrocarbons, chlorinated Occupational exposure 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tao Liu
    • 1
  • Qin-er Xu
    • 1
  • Chuan-hui Zhang
    • 1
  • Peng Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Occupational HealthHuzhou Center for Disease Control and PreventionHuzhouChina

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