Is breast cancer cluster influenced by environmental and occupational factors among hospital nurses in Hungary

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Abstract

An unusual cluster of 8 breast cancer and 8 other malignant tumor cases (ovarian, uterus, lung, colon and brain tumors and malignant melanoma) developed in a period of 12 years among 98 nurses exposed to ethylene oxide (EtOx) for 5-15 years in a unit using gas sterilizer in a hospital of the archiepiscopal city of Eger, Hungary. EtOx concentration in air samples of the working area varied from 5 to 150 mg/m3. The question was, if there was any causal relationship between the elevated incidence of breast cancer and the EtOx exposure, the other possibility was, that this cluster appeared accidentally. EtOx is a human carcinogen, however, no increased breast cancer incidence in EtOx-exposed subjects was reported in the literature. We followed up for two consecutive years the 27 non cancer patients, EtOx- exposed nurses and 11 unexposed hospital controls with the aid of a multiple genotoxicology monitor including chromosomal aberration, sister-chromatide exchange, HPRT point mutation and DNA repair studies. The results were compared with data from 30 local historical controls, 48 historical controls from Budapest, 14 hospital controls and 9 EtOx exposed nurses from Budapest. Significantly high chromosome aberration yields (especially chromosome type exchanges) were alike detected in EtOx-exposed and the two other control groups in Eger. These results could not be interpreted as a consequence of EtOx exposure only, since in the EtOx-exposed group from Budapest, beside an increased total aberration frequency, the obtained exchange type aberration yields were as low as the historical controls. A plausible explanation can be the natural low dose radioactivity (222Rn) of the local tap-water due to a specific geological situation in Eger. The spontaneous breast cancer incidence in Hungary doubled in the last 10 years compared with the previous 20 years (1960-1980), especially in Eger. The appearance of the high breast cancer incidence in the hospital of Eger indicates the combined effect of EtOx and a more common local etiologic factor, such as the naturally radioactive tap-water. However, since the reported studies did not involve the investigation either of the genetic predisposition, or the effects of other possible environmental, occupational, and/or life style confounding factors, further studies (partly in progress) are necessary to clarify the importance of these factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-121
Number of pages5
JournalPathology and Oncology Research
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999

Fingerprint

Ethylene Oxide
Hungary
Nurses
Breast Neoplasms
Incidence
Chromosome Aberrations
Hypoxanthine Phosphoribosyltransferase
Water
Urban Hospitals
Genetic Predisposition to Disease
Point Mutation
Brain Neoplasms
DNA Repair
Carcinogens
Radioactivity
Uterus
Life Style
Siblings
Melanoma
Neoplasms

Keywords

  • Ethylene oxide
  • Exchange aberrations
  • Genotoxicology monitoring
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

Cite this

@article{a9d5c91d01304052ae3f584c09ee2374,
title = "Is breast cancer cluster influenced by environmental and occupational factors among hospital nurses in Hungary",
abstract = "An unusual cluster of 8 breast cancer and 8 other malignant tumor cases (ovarian, uterus, lung, colon and brain tumors and malignant melanoma) developed in a period of 12 years among 98 nurses exposed to ethylene oxide (EtOx) for 5-15 years in a unit using gas sterilizer in a hospital of the archiepiscopal city of Eger, Hungary. EtOx concentration in air samples of the working area varied from 5 to 150 mg/m3. The question was, if there was any causal relationship between the elevated incidence of breast cancer and the EtOx exposure, the other possibility was, that this cluster appeared accidentally. EtOx is a human carcinogen, however, no increased breast cancer incidence in EtOx-exposed subjects was reported in the literature. We followed up for two consecutive years the 27 non cancer patients, EtOx- exposed nurses and 11 unexposed hospital controls with the aid of a multiple genotoxicology monitor including chromosomal aberration, sister-chromatide exchange, HPRT point mutation and DNA repair studies. The results were compared with data from 30 local historical controls, 48 historical controls from Budapest, 14 hospital controls and 9 EtOx exposed nurses from Budapest. Significantly high chromosome aberration yields (especially chromosome type exchanges) were alike detected in EtOx-exposed and the two other control groups in Eger. These results could not be interpreted as a consequence of EtOx exposure only, since in the EtOx-exposed group from Budapest, beside an increased total aberration frequency, the obtained exchange type aberration yields were as low as the historical controls. A plausible explanation can be the natural low dose radioactivity (222Rn) of the local tap-water due to a specific geological situation in Eger. The spontaneous breast cancer incidence in Hungary doubled in the last 10 years compared with the previous 20 years (1960-1980), especially in Eger. The appearance of the high breast cancer incidence in the hospital of Eger indicates the combined effect of EtOx and a more common local etiologic factor, such as the naturally radioactive tap-water. However, since the reported studies did not involve the investigation either of the genetic predisposition, or the effects of other possible environmental, occupational, and/or life style confounding factors, further studies (partly in progress) are necessary to clarify the importance of these factors.",
keywords = "Ethylene oxide, Exchange aberrations, Genotoxicology monitoring, Ionizing radiation, Risk assessment",
author = "A. Tompa and J. Major and M. Jakab",
year = "1999",
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doi = "10.1053/paor.1999.0182",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
pages = "117--121",
journal = "Pathology and Oncology Research",
issn = "1219-4956",
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T1 - Is breast cancer cluster influenced by environmental and occupational factors among hospital nurses in Hungary

AU - Tompa, A.

AU - Major, J.

AU - Jakab, M.

PY - 1999/6

Y1 - 1999/6

N2 - An unusual cluster of 8 breast cancer and 8 other malignant tumor cases (ovarian, uterus, lung, colon and brain tumors and malignant melanoma) developed in a period of 12 years among 98 nurses exposed to ethylene oxide (EtOx) for 5-15 years in a unit using gas sterilizer in a hospital of the archiepiscopal city of Eger, Hungary. EtOx concentration in air samples of the working area varied from 5 to 150 mg/m3. The question was, if there was any causal relationship between the elevated incidence of breast cancer and the EtOx exposure, the other possibility was, that this cluster appeared accidentally. EtOx is a human carcinogen, however, no increased breast cancer incidence in EtOx-exposed subjects was reported in the literature. We followed up for two consecutive years the 27 non cancer patients, EtOx- exposed nurses and 11 unexposed hospital controls with the aid of a multiple genotoxicology monitor including chromosomal aberration, sister-chromatide exchange, HPRT point mutation and DNA repair studies. The results were compared with data from 30 local historical controls, 48 historical controls from Budapest, 14 hospital controls and 9 EtOx exposed nurses from Budapest. Significantly high chromosome aberration yields (especially chromosome type exchanges) were alike detected in EtOx-exposed and the two other control groups in Eger. These results could not be interpreted as a consequence of EtOx exposure only, since in the EtOx-exposed group from Budapest, beside an increased total aberration frequency, the obtained exchange type aberration yields were as low as the historical controls. A plausible explanation can be the natural low dose radioactivity (222Rn) of the local tap-water due to a specific geological situation in Eger. The spontaneous breast cancer incidence in Hungary doubled in the last 10 years compared with the previous 20 years (1960-1980), especially in Eger. The appearance of the high breast cancer incidence in the hospital of Eger indicates the combined effect of EtOx and a more common local etiologic factor, such as the naturally radioactive tap-water. However, since the reported studies did not involve the investigation either of the genetic predisposition, or the effects of other possible environmental, occupational, and/or life style confounding factors, further studies (partly in progress) are necessary to clarify the importance of these factors.

AB - An unusual cluster of 8 breast cancer and 8 other malignant tumor cases (ovarian, uterus, lung, colon and brain tumors and malignant melanoma) developed in a period of 12 years among 98 nurses exposed to ethylene oxide (EtOx) for 5-15 years in a unit using gas sterilizer in a hospital of the archiepiscopal city of Eger, Hungary. EtOx concentration in air samples of the working area varied from 5 to 150 mg/m3. The question was, if there was any causal relationship between the elevated incidence of breast cancer and the EtOx exposure, the other possibility was, that this cluster appeared accidentally. EtOx is a human carcinogen, however, no increased breast cancer incidence in EtOx-exposed subjects was reported in the literature. We followed up for two consecutive years the 27 non cancer patients, EtOx- exposed nurses and 11 unexposed hospital controls with the aid of a multiple genotoxicology monitor including chromosomal aberration, sister-chromatide exchange, HPRT point mutation and DNA repair studies. The results were compared with data from 30 local historical controls, 48 historical controls from Budapest, 14 hospital controls and 9 EtOx exposed nurses from Budapest. Significantly high chromosome aberration yields (especially chromosome type exchanges) were alike detected in EtOx-exposed and the two other control groups in Eger. These results could not be interpreted as a consequence of EtOx exposure only, since in the EtOx-exposed group from Budapest, beside an increased total aberration frequency, the obtained exchange type aberration yields were as low as the historical controls. A plausible explanation can be the natural low dose radioactivity (222Rn) of the local tap-water due to a specific geological situation in Eger. The spontaneous breast cancer incidence in Hungary doubled in the last 10 years compared with the previous 20 years (1960-1980), especially in Eger. The appearance of the high breast cancer incidence in the hospital of Eger indicates the combined effect of EtOx and a more common local etiologic factor, such as the naturally radioactive tap-water. However, since the reported studies did not involve the investigation either of the genetic predisposition, or the effects of other possible environmental, occupational, and/or life style confounding factors, further studies (partly in progress) are necessary to clarify the importance of these factors.

KW - Ethylene oxide

KW - Exchange aberrations

KW - Genotoxicology monitoring

KW - Ionizing radiation

KW - Risk assessment

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DO - 10.1053/paor.1999.0182

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