Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 130, Issue 3, pp 505–515 | Cite as

Occupational exposure to metals and risk of meningioma: a multinational case-control study

  • Siegal Sadetzki
  • Angela Chetrit
  • Michelle C. Turner
  • Martie van Tongeren
  • Geza Benke
  • Jordi Figuerola
  • Sarah Fleming
  • Martine Hours
  • Laurel Kincl
  • Daniel Krewski
  • Dave McLean
  • Marie-Elise Parent
  • Lesley Richardson
  • Brigitte Schlehofer
  • Klaus Schlaefer
  • Maria Blettner
  • Joachim Schüz
  • Jack Siemiatycki
  • Elisabeth Cardis
Clinical Study


The aim of the study was to examine associations between occupational exposure to metals and meningioma risk in the international INTEROCC study. INTEROCC is a seven-country population-based case-control study including 1906 adult meningioma cases and 5565 population controls. Incident cases were recruited between 2000 and 2004. A detailed occupational history was completed and job titles were coded into standard international occupational classifications. Estimates of mean workday exposure to individual metals and to welding fumes were assigned based on a job-exposure-matrix. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using conditional logistic regression. Although more controls than cases were ever exposed to metals (14 vs. 11 %, respectively), cases had higher median cumulative exposure levels. The ORs for ever vs. never exposure to any metal and to individual metals were mostly greater than 1.0, with the strongest association for exposure to iron (OR 1.26, 95 % CI 1.0–1.58). In women, an increased OR of 1.70 (95 % CI 1.0–2.89) was seen for ever vs never exposure to iron (OR in men 1.19, 95 % CI 0.91–1.54), with positive trends in relation with both cumulative and duration of exposure. These results remained after consideration of other occupational metal or chemical co-exposures. In conclusion, an apparent positive association between occupational exposure to iron and meningioma risk was observed, particularly among women. Considering the fact that meningioma is a hormone dependent tumor, the hypothesis that an interaction between iron and estrogen metabolism may be a potential mechanism for a carcinogenic effect of iron should be further investigated.


Meningioma Occupational exposure Metals Risk factors Brain tumors 



The authors would like to thank Rodrigo Villegas of CREAL for conducting preliminary analyses of metal data, and Avital Jarus-Hakak (Israel), Louise Nadon (Canada), Hélène Tardy (France), Florence Samkange-Zeeb (Germany), and Anne Sleeuwenhoek (UK), who coded the occupations or assisted in the data clean-up. We are grateful to Mary McBride (Canada) and Drs. Bruce Armstrong (Australia), Maria Blettner (Germany), Alistair Woodward (New Zealand) and Patricia McKinney (UK) for the use of the occupational data from their INTERPHONE study centres for the INTEROCC project.


Michelle C. Turner was funded by a Government of Canada Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship. The INTEROCC study was funded by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) Grant No. 1R01CA124759 (PI E Cardis). Coding of the French occupational data was in part funded by AFSSET (Convention No. ST-2005-004). The INTERPHONE study was supported by funding from the European Fifth Framework Program, ‘Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources’ (contract 100 QLK4-CT-1999901563) and the International Union against Cancer (UICC). The UICC received funds for this purpose from the Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum and GSM Association. In Australia, funding was received from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (EME Grant 219129) with funds originally derived from mobile phone service license fees; a University of Sydney Medical Foundation Program; the Cancer Council NSW and The Cancer Council Victoria. In Canada funding was received from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (project MOP-42525); the Canada Research Chair programme; the Guzzo-CRS Chair in Environment and Cancer; the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec; the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the latter including partial support from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association; the NSERC Chair in Risk Science at the University of Ottawa. In France, funding was received by l’Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (ARC) (Contrat N85142) and three network operators (Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom). In Germany, funding was received from the German Mobile Phone Research Program (Deutsches Mobilfunkforschungsprogramm) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nuclear Safety, and Nature Protection; the Ministry for the Environment and Traffic of the state of Baden- Wurttemberg; the Ministry for the Environment of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia; the MAIFOR Program (Mainzer Forschungsforderungsprogramm) of the University of Mainz. In New Zealand, funding was provided by the Health Research Council, Hawkes Bay Medical Research Foundation, the Wellington Medical Research Foundation, the Waikato Medical Research Foundation and the Cancer Society of New Zealand. Additional funding for the UK study was received from the Mobile Telecommunications, Health and Research (MTHR) program, funding from the Health and Safety Executive, the Department of Health, the UK Network Operators (O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Vodafone, ‘3’) and the Scottish Executive. All industry funding was governed by contracts guaranteeing the complete scientific independence of the investigators.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11060_2016_2244_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (112 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 113 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siegal Sadetzki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Angela Chetrit
    • 1
  • Michelle C. Turner
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  • Martie van Tongeren
    • 7
  • Geza Benke
    • 8
  • Jordi Figuerola
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Sarah Fleming
    • 9
  • Martine Hours
    • 10
  • Laurel Kincl
    • 11
  • Daniel Krewski
    • 6
    • 12
  • Dave McLean
    • 13
  • Marie-Elise Parent
    • 14
  • Lesley Richardson
    • 15
  • Brigitte Schlehofer
    • 16
  • Klaus Schlaefer
    • 16
  • Maria Blettner
    • 17
  • Joachim Schüz
    • 18
  • Jack Siemiatycki
    • 15
  • Elisabeth Cardis
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.The Cancer and Radiation Epidemiology Unit, The Gertner InstituteChaim Sheba Medical CenterRamat GanIsrael
  2. 2.Sackler Faculty of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)BarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP)MadridSpain
  6. 6.McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk AssessmentUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  7. 7.Institute of Occupational MedicineEdinburghUK
  8. 8.Monash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  9. 9.School of MedicineUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  10. 10.Unité Mixte de Recherche Epidémiologique Transport Travail Environnement Université Lyon 1/IFSTTARUniversité de LyonLyonFrance
  11. 11.Oregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  12. 12.Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  13. 13.Massey UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand
  14. 14.INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Institut national de la recherche scientifiqueUniversité du QuébecLavalCanada
  15. 15.University of Montreal Hospital Research CentreMontrealCanada
  16. 16.Unit of Environmental EpidemiologyGerman Cancer Research CenterHeidelbergGermany
  17. 17.Institute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and InformaticsUniversity Medical Center, Johannes-Gutenberg University MainzMainzGermany
  18. 18.International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)Section of Environment and RadiationLyonFrance

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