Occupational exposures contribute to educational inequalities in lung cancer incidence among men: Evidence from the EPIC prospective cohort study

Gwenn Menvielle, Hendriek Boshuizen, Anton E. Kunst, Paolo Vineis, Susanne O. Dalton, Manuela M. Bergmann, Silke Hermann, Fabrizio Veglia, Pietro Ferrari, Kim Overvad, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Anne Tjønneland, Rudolf Kaaks, Jakob Linseisen, Domenico Palli, Vittorio Krogh, Rosario Tumino, Laudina Rodriguez, Antonio Agudo, Maria José SánchezJone Miren Altzibar Arozena, Lluis Cirera, Eva Ardanaz, Sheila Bingham, Kay Tee Khaw, Paolo Boffetta, Eric Duell, Nadia Slimani, Valentina Gallo, Ello Riboli, H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study is to investigate to what extent occupational exposures may explain socioeconomic inequalities in lung cancer incidence after adjusting for smoking and dietary factors. Analyses were based on a subsampie of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC study), a prospective cohort. The analyses included 703 incident lung cancer cases among men in Denmark, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and Greece. The socioeconomic position was measured using the highest level of education. The estimates of relative indices of inequality (Ril) were computed with Cox regression models. We first adjusted for smoking (with detailed information on duration and quantity) and dietary factors (fruits and vegetables consumption) and then for occupational exposures. The exposure to three carcinogens [asbestos, heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)] was analyzed. The occupational exposures explained 14% of the socioeconomic inequalities remaining after adjustment for smoking and fruits and vegetables consumption. The inequalities remained nevertheless statistically significant The RII decreased from 1.87 (95% Cl: 1.36-2.56) to 1.75 (1.27-2.41). The decrease was more pronounced when adjusting for asbestos than for heavy metals or PAH. Analyses by birth cohort suggested an effect of occupational exposures among older men, while due to small number of endpoints, no conclusion could be drawn about the role of occupational exposures in educational inequalities among younger men. Our study revealed that the impact of occupational exposures on socioeconomic inequalities in cancer incidence, rarely studied until now, exists while of modest magnitude.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1928-1935
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2010


  • Education
  • Lung cancer incidence
  • Men
  • Occupational exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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