Case-control study of PCBs, other organochlorines and breast cancer in Eastern Slovakia

Marian Pavuk, James R. Cerhan, Charles F. Lynch, Anton Kocan, Jan Petrik, Jana Chovancova

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50 Scopus citations


This case-control study was designed to investigate association between polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and risk of breast cancer in an area of high environmental exposure in the Michalovce district of eastern Slovakia. Incident breast cancer cases from the Michalovce district diagnosed between May 1997 and May 1999 were recruited through the Oncology Department of the District Hospital. A total of 15 individual PCB congeners, 2,2′-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene (DDE), 2,2-bis(4-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (DDT), and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) were measured in the serum of 24 breast cancer patients and 88 population controls in 1998-1999. The median levels of total PCBs were similar in cases (2586 ng/g of lipid) and controls (2682ng/g of lipid). Higher serum levels (highest vs. lowest tertile) of total PCBs (odds ratio (OR)=0.42, 95% CI 0.10-1.82, p-for trend=0.31), group I congeners (OR=0.37, 95% CI 0.10-1.43, P-for trend=0.02), group 2 congeners (OR=0.32, 95% CI 0.07-1.56, P-for trend=0.60), and group 3 congeners (OR=0.49, 95% CI 0.12-2.04, P-for trend=0.51) were inversely associated with risk of breast cancer. Higher serum levels of DDE (OR=3.04, 95% CI 0.65-14.3, P-for trend=0.10) were positively associated with risk of breast cancer, while there was no association for DDT (OR= 1.19, 95% CI 0.27-5.23, P-for trend=0.68), and an inverse association for HCB (OR=0.45, 95% CI 0.06-3.19, P-for trend = 0.67). While generally not statistically significant, PCB and HCB levels were inversely associated with risk of breast cancer in this highly exposed population. DDE, but not DDT, was positively associated with risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-275
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003


  • Breast cancer
  • DDE
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • PCB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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