Increased risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma among upstream petroleum workers.
Occup Environ Med. 2010 May;67(5):335-40. Epub 2009 Oct 26. PMID: 19858535
Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, PO Box 7804, N-5020 Bergen, Norway. Jorunn.Kirkeleit@isf.uib.no
OBJECTIVES: To investigate cancer risk, particularly oesophageal cancer, among male upstream petroleum workers offshore potentially exposed to various carcinogenic agents. METHODS: Using the Norwegian Registry of Employers and Employees, 24 765 male offshore workers registered from 1981 to 2003 was compared with 283 002 male referents from the general working population matched by age and community of residence. The historical cohort was linked to the Cancer Registry of Norway and the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry. RESULTS: Male offshore workers had excess risk of oesophageal cancer (RR 2.6, 95% CI 1.4 to 4.8) compared with the reference population. Only the adenocarcinoma type had a significantly increased risk (RR 2.7, 95% CI 1.0 to 7.0), mainly because of an increased risk among upstream operators (RR 4.3, 95% CI 1.3 to 14.5). Upstream operators did not have significant excess of respiratory system or colon cancer or mortality from any other lifestyle-related diseases investigated. CONCLUSION: We found a fourfold excess risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma among male workers assumed to have had the most extensive contact with crude oil. Due to the small number of cases, and a lack of detailed data on occupational exposure and lifestyle factors associated with oesophageal adenocarcinoma, the results must be interpreted with caution. Nevertheless, given the low risk of lifestyle-related cancers and causes of death in this working group, the results add to the observations in other low-powered studies on oesophageal cancer, further suggesting that factors related to the petroleum stream or carcinogenic agents used in the production process might be associated with risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma.