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The AGRIculture and CANcer (AGRICAN) cohort study: enrollment and causes of death for the 2005–2009 period

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To elaborate and describe a large prospective agricultural cohort including males and females in France with various agricultural activities and to study causes of death.


To date, few large prospective cohorts have been conducted among agricultural population. AGRIculture and CANcer cohort is a large prospective cohort of subjects in agriculture studying cancer among active and retired males and females, farm owners and workers, living in eleven areas of France with a population-based cancer registry.


Enrollment was conducted from 2005 to 2007 with a postal questionnaire. In January 2008, 180,060 individuals (54 % males, 54 % farm owners, 50 % retired) were enrolled. Mortality was studied until December 2009 (605,956 person-years with standardized mortality ratio (SMR) by comparison with the general population of the areas. Over this period, 11,450 deaths 6,741 in men and 4,709 in women were observed, including 3,405 cancer-related deaths. SMRs were significantly reduced for global mortality (SMR = 0.68, 95 % CI 0.670.70 in males and SMR = 0.71, 95 % CI 0.690.73 in females) and for death by cancer (SMR = 0.67, 95 % CI 0.65, 0.70 in males and SMR = 0.76, 95 % C: 0.71, 0.80 in females). These results were mainly explained by less frequent smoking-related causes of death (lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases). Nonsignificant excesses of death were observed only for rheumatoid arthritis and arthrosis, suicides (in females), death for event of undetermined intent (in males) and breast cancer in male agricultural workers.


These first results are the first ones obtained in France based on a large prospective agricultural cohort showing that farmers would be in healthier condition than the general population.

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We are indebted to S Deant, M Niez and V Tribouillard for processing data from the enrollment questionnaire and AS Lacauve, C Meyer and E Niez for technical assistance. MA Presles and J Estru (MSA Loire Atlantique-Vendée), Y Cosset (Caisse Centrale MSA), M Delanoë (MSA Midi Pyrénées Nord), G Gastinger (MSA Alsace), AV Guizard (Registre Général des Tumeurs du Calvados), C Hernouet (Caisse Centrale MSA), B Ladépêche (MSA Gironde), JJ Laplante (MSA Franche Comté), D Lenoir (MSA Bourgogne), A Morel (MSA Côtes Normandes), S Papazian (MSA Picardie) E Rigaud (Caisse Centrale MSA), O Surot (MSA Alpes du Nord), M Velten (Registre des Cancers du Bas Rhin) are members of the Steering Committee of the AGRICAN cohort. This work was supported by the Ligue Contre le Cancer (Nationale and Comités du Calvados, de l’Orne, de la Manche, du Maine et Loire et de Paris), the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (caisse centrale et caisses des Alpes du Nord, de l’Alsace, de Bourgogne, des Côtes Normandes, de Franche Comté, de Gironde, de Loire Atlantique-Vendée, de Midi Pyrénées Nord, de la Picardie), the Fondation de France (Mr Edouard Serres), the Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l’Alimentation, de l’Environnement et du Travail (dans le cadre des appels à projet de recherche 2005, 2006 et 2010 du programme « Environnement Santé Travail» de l’ANSES, avec le soutien financier de l’ONEMA en appui à la mise en œuvre du plan Ecophyto 2018), the Institut National du Cancer [Grant Number InCA 8422], the Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer [Grant Number ARC 02-010], the Conseil Régional de Basse Normandie, the Centre François Baclesse and the Union des Industries pour la Protection des Plantes.

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Correspondence to Pierre Lebailly.

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Levêque-Morlais, N., Tual, S., Clin, B. et al. The AGRIculture and CANcer (AGRICAN) cohort study: enrollment and causes of death for the 2005–2009 period. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 88, 61–73 (2015).

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