Occupational exposure to pesticides and pancreatic cancer*


  • *

    This article is a US Government work and, as such, is in the public domain in the United States of America.



An increased risk of exposure to pesticides for pancreatic cancer has been suggested in a number of epidemiologic studies.


Cases (N = 484), aged 30–79 years, were diagnosed in 1986–1989. Controls (N = 2,095) were a random sample of the general population. Information on usual occupation and potential confounding factors was obtained. A job-exposure matrix (JEM) approach was used to estimate the level of occupational exposure to pesticides.


A significant trend in risk with increasing exposure level of pesticides was observed, with ORs of 1.3 and 1.4 for low and moderate/high exposure levels, respectively. Excess risks were found for occupational exposure to fungicides (OR = 1.5) and herbicides (OR = 1.6) in the moderate/high level after adjustment for potential confounding factors. An increased risk for insecticide exposure was disappeared after adjustment for fungicide and herbicide exposures. Results of our occupation-based analysis were consistent with those from the JEM-based analysis.


Our results suggest that pesticides may increase risk of pancreatic cancer, and indicate the need for investigations that can evaluate risk by specific chemical exposures. Am. J. Ind. Med. 39:92–99, 2001. Published 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.