Possible pro-carcinogenic association of endotoxin on lung cancer among Shanghai women textile workers.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


British journal of cancer (2014)


2014, July 2014, Public Health Sciences Division


Background:Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide) is a widespread contaminant in many environmental settings. Since the 1970s, there has been generally consistent evidence indicating reduced risks for lung cancer associated with occupational endotoxin exposure.Methods:We updated a case-cohort study nested within a cohort of 267 400 female textile workers in Shanghai, China. We compared exposure histories of 1456 incident lung cancers cases diagnosed during 1989-2006 with those of a reference subcohort of 3022 workers who were free of lung cancer at the end of follow-up. We applied Cox proportional hazards modelling to estimate exposure-response trends, adjusted for age and smoking, for cumulative exposures lagged by 0, 10, and 20 years, and separately for time windows of ⩽15 and >15 years since first exposure.Results:We observed no associations between cumulative exposure and lung cancer, irrespective of lag interval. In contrast, analyses by exposure time windows revealed modestly elevated, but not statistically significant relative risks (∼1.27) at the highest three exposure quintiles for exposures that occurred >15 years since first exposure.Conclusions:The findings do not support a protective effect of endotoxin, but are suggestive of possible lung cancer promotion with increasing time since first exposure.British Journal of Cancer advance online publication, 12 June 2014; doi:10.1038/bjc.2014.308 www.bjcancer.com.